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The Game must end, as all games do,
But will this game, be the end of you?
You've come so far, to win the game,
But a final test, stands in your way.
Oh hapless fools, why must you doubt?
While you dally, your time runs out!
—1st challenge
Path of darkness, path of light
The way to dawn, lies through the night.
—2nd challenge
When the key to the door, is not in sight,
You may yet enter, if you can be polite.
—3rd challenge
Just find your way, the one truth path,
And be forever free, of Jumanji's wrath.
—4th challenge
Your fear will drive you just so far,
Only by courage will you reach the star.
—5th challenge
Try as you might to escape your fate,
You'll never pass through the gate-less gate!
—Final challenge

The Master of Jumanji was an imposing sorcerer who appeared to be the intelligence and namesake controlling entity of the Jumanji realm, game and the eponymous character from the namesake episode The Master of the Game. Despite his actual status, he is not really controlling the game himself, In harsh truth, he was actually just a melancholy old man, another player who became trapped years before Alan, because he could not solve his clue. His real name was never revealed.

Role

The Palace of Clues

One of the few visible clue murals on the Palace of Lost Clues' walls was; TRY AS YOU MIGHT TO ESCAPE YOUR FATE... which was the old man's clue he couldn't solve.

The Master of the Game

Alan can't figure out the first part of their clue, but guesses that the rest of it means that they must cross the desert they're in, the Great Desert of Jumanji, but no one has ever managed to do that although they do reach the end of the desert and jump into a pool of water nearby, but a voice suddenly says "the game must end as all games do, but will this game be the end of you." The mysterious voice tells them a final test stands in their way and continues speaking to them in riddles. They follow a path they figure out from the riddles and arrive at a door and have to solve another riddle to get it open. Peter solves that one by simply knocking on the door which causes it to open. Next they travel through a maze and get chased by a lion, but when Alan touches it, it disappears and the voice gives them another riddle. Following a glowing star (part of the riddle) they then arrive at a spike pit which Alan jumps and touches the star which causes a bridge to appear. Next they follow a tile puzzle where only the blue squares are safe and despite a near miss, make it safely across. At the other side they finally arrive at a massive palace. Inside they see what appears to be a gate to Brantford, but when they try to pass through it, they just end up back where they started frustrating them. However, Alan is seeing the Brantford of his time while Judy and Peter see theirs which Alan realizes means the gate is just another illusion. The three track down the source of the voice and find a being that claims to be the Master of Jumanji who is mad at their intrusion. The Master tells them to return to the Gateless Gate and solve their clue, but when Peter tells him that that isn't their clue, he releases a lion on them. Peter and Judy defeat the lion and send it off a balcony to its death. When Alan threatens to do the same to him, the Master pulls off his hood and reveals himself to be an old man who reveals that he too is a player of the game. The old man reveals he's been trapped in Jumanji for centuries perhaps and his clue was the Gateless Gate but he was unable to solve it no matter what he tried. The old man hoped that someone wiser than he was would show up, solve the mystery of the gate and he could follow them home. Alan reveals the Gateless Gate is just another one of Jumanji's tricks and it doesn't actually exist. The old man finally realizes what he refused to admit to himself: the Gate doesn't really exist and he suddenly disappears. Alan realizes what happened: the old man finally solved his clue and left. When he admitted the Gate wasn't real it solved his clue and sent him home as that was what his clue was really about. Judy and Peter apologize to Alan for not being able to get him home too, but it gives him hope if the old man could return home, so could he someday. Helping the old man solve his clue solves Judy and Peter's and they return home too.

Young Alan

When Judy and Peter travelled back in Jumanji's timeline, they witnessed many visions of their past adventures, including their journey through the Great Desert Palace and their meeting with the Master of Jumanji.

Personality

The Master of Jumanji is a mysterious red robed, hooded man who lived in a loosely Arabian-looking palace beyond the Great Desert of Jumanji, where no-one ever made it across before. Under his robes, he is an old thin faced man with facial hair, like Van Pelt but has no hair over his head, facial hair aside. Whenever he communicated from afar, he announced the oncoming challenges to guide players and spoke almost entirely in rhyme, akin to the riddled messages manifested within Jumanji game-board's crystal ball, obviously, because he was trying to make them believe that he was Jumanji itself.

And when they refused because it wasn't their clue, he was perfectly happy to kill them with a Lion - which would have kept him in the game for who knows how more years.

His initial demeanour apparently diminished as he immediately pleaded for his life and tells the truth when Alan threatened to throw him over the edge. Because of this behaviour, he could also have asked the main trio for help right away, instead of alienating them when he bullied them into solving his clue. Since no-one ever made it across the Great Desert before the trio did, the Master may have gone mad from the isolation the years he spent waiting for another player, due to his claims to have been trapped in Jumanji "for many years, maybe centuries." There is a chance that death of old age in Jumanji is impossible and players will keep playing for eternity even as a decrepit elders, and even if they are released after that, the world they knew may no longer still be there. His hometown was called St. Claire and he saw it in the Gateless Gate, rather than Brantford. The truth, it turned out, all he had to do to return home was to accept that he could never walk through the door whatsoever, so he just imprisoned himself by trying to find a way to do it.

Skills

As the apparent Master of Jumanji, the man claimed to be the intelligence behind the game. While he is still a coward, the mastery he has acquired over some aspects of Jumanji does deserve some praise. His palace was filled with various elaborate labyrinths and illusions that require extreme survival skills and cautious problem solving to evade. He used a communications device intended to convince people that he is a bodyless voice. And when that fails, he still needs to scare the newcomers in order to maintain The Masquerade.

His motif of punishments seemed to be that of Jumanji's mightiest big cat, the Lion, because he could summon murals in the maze around the castle to come to life and attack characters, namely a Lion, and also released an angry Lion from a cage, onto the trio in his palace control centre when they refused to solve his clue.

Illusions are a prominent motif in his role, as seen by the "Gateless Gate" in his palace, showing every player their hometown in the moment they were sucked into the game. It seems like viewers can walk there into any minute, but it will just bring them to the other side of the same room.

Continuity

  • The Master of Jumanji's attempts to convince players he is Jumanji is supported by several links:
    • When announcing his challenges, he speaks in riddle rhymes, like the riddled messages manifested within Jumanji game-board's crystal ball, and was well aware of how clues and gameplay worked.
    • In the dark forest, there are squared paths that lead to the temple, like the paths on the game board for the player's tokens to run along.
    • The Palace he dwells in, is decorated in murals of animals, pointed spears and even dice akin to the Jumanji board game's decorations itself. The Great Desert Palace also serves as the animated series equivalent to the picture books golden city of Jumanji, which serves as the goal space.
    • His robes have golden zig-zags patterns on it, reminiscent of the zig-zag pattern on the Jumanji board game and surrounding the crystal ball and the golden city from the picture book.
  • Despite his claims to be actual intelligence behind Jumanji, that role may actually belong to the Stalker.