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Why The Umbrella Academy Motto Means More Than You Think

The Umbrella Academy is not like a normal school in most ways. Notably, there are only seven students, and lessons focus on skills that can turn them into superhero vigilantes, with being locked in a mausoleum serving as just another punishment. If any of that seems strikingly familiar to your own school experience, we recommend you seek professional help, and possibly file a lawsuit.

There are, however, a few mundane details that ring true, since Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) seems to have modeled his academy on an extra-crusty British boarding school. Even if you've never been to one, you'll recognize from such famous sources as Harry Potter features like very old buildings, a school uniform, a crest, and a Latin motto. The Umbrella Academy has all of these things, but the one on which some eagle-eyed fans have swooped in is the Latin motto, which is displayed at various times throughout the show. It offers a hint not only of what the Umbrella Academy is all about, but also the big twist revealed in the first season. Here's why the Umbrella Academy motto means more than you think.

The Umbrella Academy motto identifies its purpose

One reason The Umbrella Academy became a huge hit was the subtle details viewers have to look closely to find and appreciate (There's more than one Umbrella Academy scene that's more important than you think). This extends even to background elements like the school's motto.

You can spot the Latin motto of The Umbrella Academy on the kids' uniforms. In case you missed it, it's "Ut Malum Pluvia," which is supposed to translate to, "When evil rains." Self-proclaimed Latin experts, however, have been up in arms about the translation since the comics the Netflix series is based on came out. According to LiveJournal user benitocereno, the English translation actually comes closer to something like "Rainshowers [are] like evil." This phrase sort of works, but you don't get the impact of the pun. Then again, if you want to put a pun into the motto of your school, maybe don't use a language no one except lawyers, scientists and random LiveJournal users has actively spoken for thousands of years.

The inclusion of the motto is still a nice tribute to the comics, in which it's more explicitly linked to the Academy's name. In the show, the given reason behind the name of the Academy is that Sir Reginald Hargreeves made his fortune on umbrellas. He does also mention that the Academy's students "will stand against the reign of evil," but the fake Latin motto really drives the pun home, even if most people didn't get it.

The Umbrella Academy motto hints at that Vanya secret

Beyond its punning power concerning the purpose of the Academy as a whole, the motto may have a particular meaning for one alumna. Specifically, the one long believed to be the Umbrella Academy member with the least amount of power.

In a post on Reddit, user -screamin- pointed out that Vanya's (Ellen Page) orchestra is named St. Pluvium, a reference to the Latin root for rain or raining. As they explain, Vanya's power outbursts are often accompanied by downpours. Perhaps, -screamin- suggests, Hargreeves understood the connection between Vanya and rain when he concocted his fake Latin motto and had her admitted into the orchestra. They suggest that he was subtly warning the other students that their sister might be part of the evil they'd been trained to stop.

The creators of the comics and the showrunners on the series love putting in small details to keep fans coming back to find hidden meaning. That's why there are multiple things you need to pay close attention to on The Umbrella Academy season 2 — including any fake Latin phrases lurking in the background.