Are Ryan Gosling’s Tattoos in The Gray Man Real? What is Its Meaning?

Image Credit: Paul Abell/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘The Gray Man’ follows the story of a CIA operative who goes rogue after he discovers the true nature of his employers. Ryan Gosling stars as Sierra Six, an agent so deeply obscure that the agency doesn’t even have a file on him. While, over the course of events, he reveals a thing or two about his past, we have to discern things about him through his appearance. There is that prominent scar on his arm, the cigarette burns from his abusive father, and the tattoos on his body. Claire notices one of the tattoos and asks him what it means. If you’ve been wondering the same thing, then we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should know about Sierra Six’s tattoo. SPOILERS AHEAD

What Does Sierra Six’s Tattoo Mean?

Six bonds with Fitz’s niece Claire when he is tasked to protect her in his mentor’s absence. While he tries to keep his distance from her, Claire indulges him in conversations, trying to know more about him. She notices a tattoo on his arm and asks him about it. He says that it is in Greek and spells the name of a god who was forced to carry a rock up a hill by the other gods. This is in reference to the tale of Sisyphus, who received eternal punishment for trying to cheat death. He is forced to carry a rock up a hill, which rolls down as soon as it nears the top. Sisyphus is forced to repeat this task for all eternity. When Claire asks if he ever gets the rock up the hill, Six says he’ll let her know.

While the choice of his tattoo might seem random, the conversation between Claire and Six indicates otherwise. It looks like there is something common between Sisyphus and Six. The god cheated death multiple times, and Six seems to come out of every situation, no matter how dire it might seem, alive and in one piece. He seems to evade it so well that even Lloyd gets frustrated at one point. In a similar vein, Six had been carrying out a punishment, stuck in the routine of prison life before Fitz came to rescue him. Much like Sisyphus, he was doing the same thing over and over again, and it looked like it might go on forever. This is why perhaps he got that tattoo in prison, as he tells Claire.

While he did escape prison, he is not sure if he actually escaped the punishment. Despite all the excitement that being a Sierra operative brings, it has a curse of regularity where Six is forced to do jobs that he rarely knows anything about, the jobs that he isn’t supposed to question, no matter his curiosity. By the end, however, he has escaped the CIA, and it looks like he might have escaped his punishment after all. But then, isn’t being on the run a punishment in itself? This means that no matter what he does, Six, much like Sisyphus, will forever be captive to the task that he can never seem to finish.

Does Ryan Gosling Have Tattoos in Real?

Yes, much like his character in ‘The Gray Man’, Ryan Gosling has tattoos in real life. He has previously played another character with many more tattoos in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’, however, most of those tattoos were not real. As far as is known, Gosling has five tattoos. The first is that of the children’s book, The Giving Tree, on his left arm. He has Esme tattooed on his left hand’s fingers for his daughter Esmeralda. Another, on his left inner arm, is that of a ghostly lady with a skeleton. The other two Gosling inked himself. One, on his left forearm, is the hand of a monster, though it looks more like a cactus, and the other, on his left wrist, is a barcode, the meaning of which is not known. As for the Sisyphus tattoo, it is made up to serve Sierra Six’s character and, most probably, Gosling didn’t get it for real.

Read More: Where Was The Gray Man Filmed?