John Wick, the titular character of the highly successful action movie franchise, has not only redefined the genre with thrilling fight scenes and an intriguing underworld, but also with its prevalent use of symbolism. These symbols are prominently featured in the character’s various tattoos, each with their unique meanings and interpretations that contribute to the larger narrative. Delving into the significance of John Wick’s tattoos reveals crucial aspects of the character’s backstory and provides a deeper understanding of the series as a whole.
One such tattoo, found on John Wick’s back, is the Latin phrase “Fortis Fortuna adiuvat,” which roughly translates to “Fortune favors the bold.” This adage holds particular importance throughout the films, reflecting the protagonist’s fearless approach to overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. Alongside this powerful message, other tattoos represent meaningful symbols, like the wolf on his back, which conveys loyalty, strength, and primal power.
- John Wick’s tattoos serve as meaningful and symbolic elements in the series.
- The Latin phrase “Fortis Fortuna adiuvat” signifies the importance of bravery and resilience.
- Various tattoos, such as the wolf, reflect personal qualities and characteristics of the protagonist.
John Wick’s Tattoos
The tattoos of the iconic character John Wick serve as subtle storytelling elements, contributing to his mysterious and tough persona. In this section, we will explore the meanings behind some of John Wick’s most notable tattoos.
Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat
One of the most prominent tattoos on John Wick’s body is the phrase “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat,” inked across his shoulders just above the praying hands and cross. This term is in Latin and translates to “Fortune favors the bold” or “Fortune favors the strong.” This phrase serves as a reminder for John Wick to be courageous and determined in his actions, as he faces countless adversaries throughout the films.
Praying Hands and Cross
Below the “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” tattoo are the praying hands and cross. This tattoo suggests a connection to faith and spirituality, possibly serving as a source of solace and strength for John Wick in times of adversity. The praying hands may represent a sense of humility and the acknowledgment of a higher power, while the cross is often associated with sacrifice, redemption, and protection from evil.
These tattoos, along with others not mentioned here, work together to create a complex portrait of John Wick’s character. The ink he carries on his skin serves as a testament to his strength, courage, and mysterious nature that makes the John Wick series so captivating for fans.
Origins of the Latin Phrase
Fortune Favors the Bold
The Latin phrase “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” has been a subject of interest for many, especially after its appearance as a tattoo on the protagonist in the movie John Wick. The phrase, when translated to English, means “Fortune favors the bold” or “Fortune favors the brave.” This saying captures Wick’s attitude toward life and reminds him that his actions will determine his future.
The concept of fortune or luck, represented by the Roman goddess Fortuna, is deeply rooted in Latin culture. The phrase “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” emphasizes the need for strength and courage to unlock the doors of success. In other words, it is a motivational and encouraging mantra that champions resilience, determination, and fearlessness.
Marine and Military Uses
“Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” is not only significant in popular culture but also has connections to the military. Specifically, the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines use a similar motto, “Fortes Fortuna Juvat.” The meaning is analogous, and tattoos or slogans with these phrases are quite common among military personnel.
Incorporating this Latin phrase into military use reinforces the idea that bold and courageous actions are necessary in combat and life. It serves as a constant reminder of the qualities one needs to possess in order to succeed in high-pressure situations and life in general.
As “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” continues to inspire strength and bravery, the phrase remains deeply ingrained in both the military and pop culture alike, serving as a motivator and an emblem of fortitude.
Symbolism and Significance
John Wick, the iconic hitman and anti-hero of the eponymous film series, is adorned with tattoos that hold hidden meanings and contribute to his mysterious persona. One of the most prominent tattoos is a Latin phrase, “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat,” which translates to “Fortune favors the bold.” This phrase holds significance in the real world, as it is associated with the United States Marine Corps, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines.
Another tattoo depicts a wolf, symbolizing strength, independence, primal power, and loyalty. In many cultures, wolves are revered for these qualities, as they form close bonds with pack members and fiercely protect their own. This is fitting, given John Wick’s unwavering loyalty to his wife, dog, and close friends. His tattoos serve a storytelling purpose, reflecting his life as a skilled assassin and the challenges he faces, such as dealing with death and evading bad luck.
A notable aspect of the tattoos is their connection to Roman mythology, specifically the goddess Fortuna. In Wick’s tattoo, the word “Fortuna” is capitalized, subtly indicating a reference to the Roman goddess of fortune. This choice highlights the unpredictability of life, a recurring theme in the films, as John Wick navigates his journey as a hitman.
John Wick’s Backstory
John Wick, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, is a skilled and lethal assassin known for his fierce demeanor and exceptional abilities in hand-to-hand combat and firearms. His dark past includes ties to the Russian mob, the mysterious High Table, and a reputation as the feared Baba Yaga, a nickname earned for his ruthless efficiency as a killer.
Wick’s backstory unfolds through his quest for vengeance following the murder of his dog by Iosef Tarasov, a member of the Russian mob. As he embarks on his relentless killing spree, viewers learn about the world he inhabits, including the underworld criminal organizations, the rules they operate by, and the complex relationships between assassins.
Embedded within John Wick’s story, his tattoos offer silent insights into his past. One of the most significant tattoos in his collection is the phrase “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” inked on his back. This Latin slogan translates to “Fortune Favors the Brave” and captures Wick’s attitude towards life, reminding him that his actions dictate his future. Symbolically, this phrase aligns with the themes of vengeance and resilience present throughout the films, and it may hint towards his military history.
Apart from the tattoos, John Wick’s military background is subtly hinted at during the films. Set in Hawaii, the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marines is considered to be a highly skilled and disciplined unit. While it is not explicitly stated, John Wick’s body language, combat proficiency, and penchant for calculated violence seem to align with the attributes of a former Marine.
His tattoos, combined with other elements of his backstory, also point to a potential Russian prison past and a strong connection to the Catholic faith. The flame skull tattoo, for instance, symbolizes Wick’s criminal history, and the prayer hands and cross tattoos may reflect his Catholic upbringing.
Tattoos in the John Wick Universe
The John Wick movies are known for their action-packed sequences, thrilling plotlines, and intricate world-building. A significant aspect of this world is the prevalence of tattoos among the characters, each with its unique symbolism and meaning.
One of the most iconic tattoos that John Wick has is the image of a wolf on his back. The wolf tattoo represents strength, loyalty, and primal power, resonating with Wick’s character as a skilled and ruthless assassin. It aligns with the unforgiving nature of the John Wick universe, where every character must rely on their prowess to survive.
Another prominent tattoo on John Wick’s body is the Latin phrase “fortis Fortuna adiuvat,” inscribed across his shoulders just above the praying hands and cross. Translated to English, this phrase means “Fortune favors the bold,” reflecting Wick’s unyielding resolve to achieve his goals despite the odds stacked against him. This attitude is evident in all the chapters of the franchise, from the first John Wick movie up to the highly anticipated John Wick 4.
In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the character of the Director, played by Anjelica Huston, is introduced as the leader of a secret society with roots in the Ruska Roma culture. Notably, the Director sports a distinctive pagan symbol called Oskal, tattooed on her hand, signifying her powerful position within the organization.
Additionally, the praying hands tattoo on Wick’s back is often interpreted as a fallen angel symbol, alluding to his fall from grace as he is pulled back into the life of crime and violence he had left behind.
The tattoo artists who design and create these intricate tattoos for the characters play a significant role in shaping the John Wick universe. As skilled professionals, they are responsible for visually conveying each character’s backstory and personality through their artwork.
Poetic and Philosophical Interpretations
John Wick’s tattoos have poetic and philosophical interpretations that are not only visually impressive but also serve as windows into the character’s past and personal beliefs. The large back tattoo showcases the phrase “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat,” which can be translated to “Fortune Favors the Bold” or “The Brave.” This saying indicates Wick’s courageous and daring nature in the face of adversity and danger. It also gives insight into his possible military background, as he is shown to have served in Kaneohe Bay with the Marine Corps, embracing the warrior spirit inherent in the quote.
The concept of “faith” also plays a significant role in the meaning behind John Wick’s tattoos. The prayer hands tattoo on his arm is one such symbol, signifying his connection with Christianity and the strength he draws from his religious beliefs. This prayer may also serve as a reminder of the power of faith in times of struggle and crisis. Additionally, the tattoo featuring Roman numerals “XI VI” or “11 6” is believed to be a reference to a Bible verse from the Book of Aeneid, emphasizing the importance of maintaining one’s values even in the midst of chaos.
The word “parabellum” is another central theme in John Wick’s tattoos, a Latin phrase meaning “prepare for war.” This can be symbolic of Wick’s constant state of readiness for conflict and his will to fight for what he believes in, regardless of the consequences. In essence, it signifies the indomitable spirit that characterizes John Wick throughout the film series.
As for the themes of good luck and fate, the beagle puppy tattoo on his forearm is a clear representation of these ideas. The beagle puppy serves as a symbol of Wick’s connection to his late wife, who gifted him the pet before her death. This tattoo can be seen as an expression of hope for better days to come and a tribute to the continuous journey guided by fate, which has led him down a tumultuous path.