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In Now You See Me the Four Horsemen each receive a card containing a symbol and an invitation on the back. It seems that there was a connection or implication about what that Horsemen were about to do, or the role he/she was to play. Is there any explanation or are there any theories about this?

Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas (The Lovers), a street Magician

Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney (The Hermit), a Mentalist

Isla Fisher as Henley Reeves (The High Priestess), an Escapist

Dave Franco as Jack Wilder (Death), a street Magician

LOVERS DEATH HERMIT PRIESTESS

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Hmm, good point, didn't think about this. –  Napoleon Wilson Aug 28 '13 at 13:18
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Each of the cards is one of the Major Arcana in a tarot deck. They have various meanings, depending on who you ask, in divination. A 5th card (the king of spades, which corresponds to the king of swords) gets associated with Dylan (Who also gets called the fool, another tarot card and an unusual one, the use of which varies in different games), giving you a full 5-card tarot reading. –  Compro01 Aug 29 '13 at 15:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes, I'd say that they were indicative of roles.

Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas (The Lovers), a street Magician

In his intro, we can see that women are crazy about him and one of his marks actually attempts to seduce him. The innuendo between Atlas and Henley suggests that they have slept together as well. He is good with banter and plays the role of the host/MC/compère.

Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney (The Hermit), a Mentalist

Hermits have … mental powers.

Isla Fisher as Henley Reeves (The High Priestess), an Escapist

At a guess, she keeps the boys under control which she is seen doing a few times throughout the film.

Dave Franco as Jack Wilder (Death), a street Magician

While watching the movie, my reaction was that he had actually died on stage in his spoon-bending intro, but he later resurrects himself by stealing his mark's wallet. This also happens later in the movie.


TVTropes has some interesting notes:

Tarot knowledge also lets a bit more foreshadowing be known; the first card we see in the film is the 7 of Diamonds. The Suit of Pentacles represents martial wealth; all the Asshole Victims in the film have Greed as at least one of their motivations. The 7 of Pentacles itself represents reaching a new level or a prediction of future success, which in both cases is the prediction of the Four Horsemen.

Dylan being called The Fool. The Fool tarot often represents an innate cleverness hidden by an apparent foolishness, foreshadowing that he isn't as stupid as he seems.

You need five cards for a Tarot reading. The five cards are in order of appearance: King of Spades/Swords, Lovers, Hermit, High Preistess [sic], Death. The hidden card is revealed to be the one hidden in backstory magic trick and is the last one that the Horsemen see so for them the reading is: Lovers, Hermit, High Preistess [sic], Death, King of Spades/Swords.

Tarot Motifs: The Eye first contacts the Horsemen by giving them tarot cards — The Lovers (Daniel), The High Priestess (Henley), The Hermit (Merritt), and Death (Jack). This extends to Dylan, the "fifth Horseman," who Thaddeus repeatedly calls 'The Fool' — particularly right before the big reveal. His actual card is the King of Swords. This represents him being a man with an idea, and not being afraid to hurt his victims.

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"Hermits have … mental powers." - Really? I thought hermit are, well, just hermits. Could you elaborate on this? "While watching the movie, my reaction was that he had actually died on stage in his spoon-bending intro, but he later resurrects himself by stealing his mark's wallet." - Could you elaborate on this further? What do you mean "died on stage"? Otherwise interesting answer, especially the further notes involving Rhodes and his cards. –  Napoleon Wilson Aug 30 '13 at 20:12
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@ChristianRau Hermits can be used synonymously with sages who being wise, religious types are often ascribed with mental powers and such. Re: "dying on stage" is a figurative expression used for entertainers (usually comedians) who aren't successful when on stage. Wilder's spoon-bending trick appears to go pretty badly when he is found out by a member of the audience. –  coleopterist Aug 30 '13 at 20:28
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I thought Merritt got the Hermit cause he traveled around a lot after his brother robbed him and his career ended. –  MyCodeSucks Aug 30 '13 at 20:37
    
+1 For "Hermits have … mental powers." –  jsedano Sep 17 '13 at 14:54
    
Still not clear about the points mentioned by nepolean, it still have strength. Saving upvote for improvement. –  Ankit Sharma Feb 19 at 10:43

The Lovers symbolizes harmony between male-female, either in yourself or forming a partnership with someone. It is not necessarily sexual. It means being able to take different skills and work toward one goal; finding your co-conspirators.

The Hermit symbolizes the need to find your inner wisdom and gain insight. It's a sign to take a break and learn more about yourself, going deep inside meditation.

The High Priestess is intuitive and in touch with the mystery of the world. It symbolizes your "inner guide" and the strengths inside of you. That gut instinct you have when you know what you have/can/want to do.

Death symbolizes transformation. It's a sign to eliminate things that just aren't working anymore. It's reassurance that you can break old habits and change.

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This seems to merely describe the cards while ignoring the question of how or if they represent the characters. Any search engine can give interpretations of the cards' "meanings." καλλίστη! –  Meat Trademark Jul 17 at 4:15

The writers didn't seem to pay attention to the cards' meanings. They just assigned them based on their names and to be edgy. "Oh, she's a girl. Let's give her High Priestess. Oh, he fakes his death. Let's give him Death." The meanings to the cards don't seem to match up with the characters at all.

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protected by iandotkelly Oct 12 at 12:56

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