In season 1, Episode 6 of Lost, John Locke tells Charlie that the Island may give you what you want, but you have to give something up to the Island.

Locke: Do you want your guitar?

Charlie: [nods head]

Locke: More than your drug?

Charlie: More than you know.

Locke: What I know is that this island just might give you what you’re looking for, but you have to give the island something.

Charlie: [hands over drugs] You really think you can find my guitar?

Locke: Look up, Charlie.

Charlie: You’re not going to ask me to pray or something?

Locke: I want you to look up.

It is previously revealed that Locke had been paralyzed from the waist down prior to coming to the Island. Upon arrival on the island he is shown to have regained the use of his legs.

My question is; What did Locke give up to the Island in exchange for the use of his legs?

  • I have recently started watching LOST and this is the first time I'm watching it. This was bugging me for a while, I was going to ask but you beat me to it. +1
    – burcu
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 8:06
  • 2
    Have you seen the final series / do you want spoilers?
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 11:03
  • Seen it before, re-watching it now.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 4:04

1 Answer 1


Spoilers for seasons 1-5 below!

It's less that Locke traded something for the use of his legs, and more that the Island/Jacob made an investment.

Locke was healed immediately after the plane crash, so he had no opportunity to perform any actions beforehand.

Locke toes

Throughout the series, Locke did various important jobs, including but not limited to:

  • Assisting, guiding and protecting various candidates.
  • Discovering and gaining access to the Swan, the Pearl and the Flame.
  • Temporarily leading the Others.
  • Stoping the time-flashes.
  • Inspiring Jack to bring the Oceanic 6 back to the Island.

He would be unable to do those deeds without the use of his legs, so the Island/Jacob would need to heal Locke if it/he wanted to use him.

On the other hand, it was always ambiguous whether or not Locke had any idea what the heck he was talking about, so take his lesson to Charlie with a grain of salt.

  • 3
    Because of time travel, one could technically say that Locke actually performed some actions for the island before the plane crash.
    – Fatalize
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 7:44

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