We start out with a lightning flash, which needs no major interpretation there. Something is happening in Haven, something involving forces both turbulent and widespread (a storm) and sudden, catalysing (the lightning). There's also the aspect of lightning out of a stormy but as yet not raining sky, which is sudden and causes startlement and worry. Lightning is also a powerful force that is as yet largely uncontrollable, of which there are many in Haven. From there we move on to a nice juxtaposition of both impermanence, timelessness in the form of the lighthouse that doesn't seem to change much over the years, and rapid-moving clouds indicating a swift and forceful passage of time. Haven is outside time, in a way, since it was June when the series started and July when the Christmas episode aired and very little time has passed even since then. So many events crammed into so short a span of time that may or may not even be a natural span of time. And as anyone who's experienced a number of emotionally significant events in a short time, there's always a feeling of how has it only been a couple of days/weeks since this happened. Swiftly moving time by the passage and number of events, and a complete lack of time by the calendar.
The lighthouse appears and reappears in the opening credits, but I find it interesting that the first time we see the lighthouse is right before Emily Rose's name appears next to/over a picture from the middle to late end of the last century, and possibly over a picture that's AudSarLu. It's difficult to entirely tell, it might only be a picture of a woman from the time, but given the fact that they're focusing on it and the picture isn't doing anything unnatural it seems likely. We already know she's lived at least seventy years plus, the idea of her being around since colonial times doesn't seem that odd. And the symbolism of the lighthouse, the guiding light that steers ships from danger, would seem to fit with the role AudSarLu plays in Haven. That, plus the fact that almost all of the other pictures, windows, and reflective surfaces in this opening credits sequence do strange things leads me to believe this really is Audrey. (There are other pictures, too, but most of them are drawn or woodcuts rather than photographs or mirrors.)
After this we have a colonial ship coming into harbor and then a poster stating the the "Revered Flagg' will elaborate on the proper devices and most godly mechanisms for the examination and discovery of wytches. Uh-huh. For all those of you Stephen King fans, I don't think I need to explain who Flagg is, but for those of you who aren't, I will: Flagg is Stephen King's go-to guy for an unnerving as hell, unnatural, inhuman-and-fakes-human-badly bad guy. He appears in The Stand, the Dark Tower, and Eyes of the Dragon at least, by name, uses a variety of aliases (anything with the initials RF, Walter o'Dim, Marten Broadcloak), and has possibly appeared in other books we haven't yet read. He is a creepy, creepy bastard and it wouldn't actually surprise me if he turned up in Haven other than just in the opening credits. As it is, his presence in the opening credits bugs me.
A series of woodcuts or drawings later, we have Haven rushing by a porthole window or door in a boat. At a guess it's Duke's boat, or at least it very much looks like it, and then, what do you know, the first of several Haven Heralds supposedly dating back to Tuesday, February 18, 1725. This is also the first thing that makes me doubt what good it will do chewing over the opening credits, because the events are the same in every single Haven Herald. They describe the events of episode 1x06, Fur, and the deaths of the members of the Haven Hunt Club. The headline, however, is Ship Breaks Up In Calm Seas, which is certainly something that might happen in Haven. One of Garland Wuornos's ancestors, perhaps? I don't think there's been anyone with a Rust Monster style Trouble yet. There's also an advertisement for Johnston Hardware off to the right, and the paper is 2 cents.
We then get a family tree I really wish I could get a better look at in the hopes that it's also significant, considering how the Troubles run in families. Most of the names are illegible, but the few I can read are Mark, Berit, Deborah, and Anne, who are all grandchildren of one person. Hard to say where this begins or where it's going, but Berit did have a daughter named Lucy at some point. The family tree fades out into one of two sequences, depending on season, which is the main reason we decided to chew on the opening credits. Just in case there was something else there. In the first couple of seasons, a person is performing what looks like a sage smudge (purification ritual) on a stone marker that has the maze-with-people symbol we've seen so much of. In the third season the marker and ritual is replaced by a pan-out from a grave marker with the same symbol. The grave reads "In loving rememberance of Jack Moody, died June 20 1887." I don't actually think Jack Moody has shown up on the show, but then again neither have any significant number of people I would expect to be smudging anything, so there you go.
Another painting, this time with one figure who appears to be either whispering to or capturing another. By the looks of it, a mermaid seducing or capturing a man, most likely a sailor. Not exactly surprising, given Haven. This is followed by another Haven Herald, dated Thursday October 13 1934. (Which is 5 years after that round of Troubles should have started, if we're going in a 27 year sequence. I don't know if they last that long or if writers can't do math.) The Herald price is 5 cents this time, and it is Vol. 26 No. 41 if anyone is curious. The headline reads Halleck's Homestead Vanishes Overnight. As much as I would love Halleck to be the name of the family whose trouble makes people vanish, it sadly isn't. That one was Chambers. Although I suppose Halleck's Homestead could have something to do with the disappearing reappearing barn! From the newspaper to a compass and a sextant, again, more seafaring imagery and in this case having to do with direction and finding your way as opposed to being lost. And this is followed by a slightly longer shot of a family sitting down to dinner, a family of nine with several adults and one boy, and perhaps a younger woman or an older girl. I don't actually believe this is meant to be anyone within the history of the show, but if I were to hazard a guess I would suggest it was the family Glendower, who seem to be somehow tied up in a lot of the show's mythology. (More on that in a later post.)
Another long/rapid shot over a cemetery, a more modern one this time, and one without much in the way of decorative headstone pieces. All of these headstones are granite, most of them simple and rectangular. Almost uniform, really. Cut to a scene with lobster traps and a dingy, two older men with their backs to the camera and one little girl facing the camera and smiling, and I'd put the time at very loosely the turn of last century. By this time we're into the credits that say which recurring guest stars are in this episode, so there's not much to be gained from juxtaposition here. From there to a Haven Herald! Murder? Police Baffled is the headline, and it's Thursday October 13 again, this time in 1956 and for those of you keeping track, this is the first of AudSarLu's incarnations for which we have a name. This is Sarah's incarnation, and around this time the weather controlling Hastings family moves up from Georgia, Sarah kills Grandpa Crocker (most likely), and
At this point the opening credits change fairly substantially from season 1 to seasons 2 and 3. In season 1 we pan up from the ground to an antique store that looks rather like a repurposed barn, peeling white paint with burgundy trim and a green-gray door. The front is covered in high grass and some flowers. The sign reads "Antiques and Collectables," no name. We go in and we see the antique shop is full, mostly, of lights and mirrors and pictures, but the pictures move. A boat sails out of the frame, a Revolutionary War? soldier shoots another man. Then we have the dog on Duke's boat that appears later in the credits as well, and the sequence of buildings on fire.
In seasons 2 and 3 we have a dog on a boat looking puzzledly at the camera, that looks like it could be Duke's boat, as well. Followed by a black and white photograph of a funeral for which it looks like most of the town has turned out, again, most likely at the turn to the middle of the last century. Certainly in the earlier days of photography. I would place it three or four generations ago in Haven, at least. The camera pans up from the photo and blends smoothly into a high shot of the Rev's church, which is a less than friendly sight. Unless you side with the Rev, I suppose. We'll all note that this was added when the Rev and his followers suddenly became more important to the narrative on the show. And now we're almost up to the present, the headline reads Who Killed the Colorado Kid? and it's Thursday May 28, 1983. So we managed to get out of the October 13s before they could Rule of Three us, but I'm still deeply suspicious of the almost-pattern there. The price is 50 cents this time, but the text remains the same.
Now that we're done with Haven Heralds there is one thing I want to point out, because you didn't think we were going to chew over all of this and not check the dates, did you? We checked the dates to see if they matched up with the Thursday days, and the first one was a Thursday. (N.B.: This is using the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian - the Julian was the one in use in that region in 1725. Just in case someone gets a wild hair to check us!) For the only Haven Herald that seems to have been printed on a Tuesday. But then we checked the next three, which turned out to be all Saturdays. And then we checked it again, and they were still all Saturdays. Now, the odds of a date landing on the same day at a guess are 1 in 7, anyway, but three in a row? Is actually 1 in 343, which is a pretty long shot. Add to that the fact that these days are all 2 days off in the same direction and we have something I am not comfortable with calling a coincidence. Did they schedule this on purpose to be Tues/Thurs, Thurs/Sat? I'm not sure, but I doubt it was that. But do they have a calendar somewhere that says AudSarLu appears for X days, then we have Y days of this, and so on? I'd at least call that possible. Either way, there's something very statistically improbable about those Heralds as relates to our world. Which is about what we've come to expect from Haven.
Math digression over! Next we pan along a building with merfolk and drowning people in the windows. At least, one of those people has a tail and they all look as though they're underwater. The building itself is a dark teal with terra cotta and tan trim, and has a sign on it I can't quite read. I'm pretty sure we've seen it in the show itself, though. And from there to a larger church than the Rev's, one we've seen from in-town/over-town pans, but still one that's white with black trim, dating it most likely to the same era. And then it's on fire! Oh no! And now it's the present, the Haven Herald is digital as we pan across a computer monitor. It's apparently being viewed on a Bunny Browser. I don't know what that is any more than you do. (A adds: Safe bet is that that's one of the myriad ways this universe differs from ours. Substitute for Firefox? In which case there's a prey/predator theme here I'm curious about.) A Haven PD car door closes, and we see Audrey's credentials, first the FBI badge, then the police badge and ID after she leaves the FBI for local police. The lighthouse was on fire at some point back in the days of black and white photography, but now it's not. Note that as we get into the modern day, more things are getting lit on fire. Unfortunately we can't extrapolate too much from two examples, and we're about to have the show title splashed across the screen. Close credits.
The trend of "opening credits as a reflection of what's happening in the series" has been going on for at least twenty years. The earliest example I remember seeing personally is X-Files, when "The Truth Is Out There" was replaced by certain other key words which reflected the metaplot trend of that particular episode, such as "Trust No One" or "Deceive. Inveigle. Obfuscate." Jericho followed suit with a Morse code message at the beginning of each episode, The Simpsons have their couch gag, and there are many, many others. The opening credits of Haven don't change quite that often, but they have changed, and it's reasonable to assume that the creators didn't just throw them together by looking for appropriate New England scenery. Whether or not they mean all the things we've listed here, they have some significance. Though, as with most other things Haven, it might take until the end of the series before we understand it completely.