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Stranger Things: Will’s painting and its meaning revealed

Will Byers
Will showed his painting to Mike and told his friend what the real meaning of the picture is. Pic credit: Netflix

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things 4 Volume 2.

Being a teenager isn’t always all fun and games, and the Hawkins crew realized this pretty quickly when they befriended Eleven. As they’ve grown, the characters have formed relationships, though not all were surprising, such as Mike and El’s relationship.

In a classic teenage moment (albeit more dire), Mike confides in Will that he’s scared that El won’t want to be with him or won’t like him anymore after they go get her.

Will uses this moment to show Mike a little bit of his own vulnerability as he handed Mike a rolled-up painting and told him to open it. The painting was one Will had been hiding forever.

Will shows Mike his secret painting

As the two friends ride in the back of the van, Mike unrolls the painting to reveal a beautiful picture of four knights fighting off a three-headed dragon.

The knights are them and their friends; Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas. They are their respective classes from Dungeons and Dragons, their favorite game to play.

As Mike compliments Will’s work, Will insists that Eleven told him to draw it, though that may have been a little white lie to make his friend feel better.

A picture of Will's painting showing four knights (a swordsman, an axeman, a paladin, and a mage) fighting a red three-headed dragon.
Will’s painting. Pic credit: Netflix

However, there was a lot of significance behind the painting.

Will reveals the touching meaning behind his painting

Will takes the moment to explain some of the details of his painting to Mike, reassuring his friend in the process.

He points to the swordsman, who is Mike, and his shield, saying, “See how you’re leading us here. You’re guiding the whole party, inspiring us. That’s what you do.”

He then tells Mike to notice that the swordsman has a coat of arms that’s a heart, noting, “That’s what holds this whole party together… heart. Without heart, we’d all fall apart.”

A picture of Will's painting closer up as he points out where Mike is and the heart on Mike's armor.
Pic credit: Netflix

Will goes even further, explaining to Mike that Eleven has had a hard time adjusting without Mike over the past few months in California, noting, “she’s so different from other people, and when you’re different, sometimes you feel like a mistake.” This is a sentiment that must have resonated deeply within Will as it caused him to start shedding tears.

He continued, “But you make her feel like she’s not a mistake at all. Like she’s better for being different, and that gives her the courage to fight on.”

Even though it was hard for Will to speak this truth to his friend, it was a sacrifice he was willing to make to make the leader of their party feel better.

Stranger things 4 Volume 2 is now streaming on Netflix.