BTS Moebius's Willow and TPM

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by ATMachine, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    A couple small corrections to details in Trinity:

    To activate her magical "storm-filled eggshell," Elora Danan would probably have to cook the rotten egg in a pot of boiling water (or find an equivalent heating method), thus activating the rain spell. (In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid hatches a dragon egg, quite prosaically, by roasting it on his fireplace. And in Sierra's 1990 game King's Quest VI, Prince Alexander casts a rain spell by boiling a magic potion inside an enchanted teapot.)

    The enchanted statue of a bull--Elora's disguised doppelganger--guarding the burial crypts beneath the Emerald City obviously draws on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. As such, the crypt would presumably be quite maze-like, and Elora would have to navigate her way through it by leaving behind a thread: very likely the torn threads of her own blue princess dress, afterward replaced with gray traveling clothes.

    The statue itself would likely be golden in color, not black. Its evident inspiration, the "Minoton" statue in Ray Harryhausen's 1977 film Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, is likewise golden-bronze. The gold color here symbolizes Elora's eventual divine status.

    In sculptural terms, the creature would really be a calf, not a bull, and therefore would lack horns. Beneath its cow head, the statue would have the torso of a woman, complete with bare breasts. This detail is probably modeled on the golden sphinx statues in the 1984 film The Neverending Story. (It also brings to mind the way the feline-headed Egyptian goddess, Bast, is depicted in Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic series.)

    The golden color of the calf statue additionally alludes to the legendary bronze bulls of ancient Carthage, used to practice infant sacrifice to the god Moloch, by fiery immolation in the bull's belly. According to the Old Testament, the liberated Hebrews briefly adopted a version of this Carthaginian god after their flight out of Egypt, during Moses' journey to receive the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai. In the case of the Hebrew ex-slaves, their idol took female form, as a golden calf.

    The maze of crypts which the female Minotaur inhabited would likely contain a secret passageway leading outside, to the skull cave containing the gate to the Underworld. In fact, the secret door would probably be in the Minotaur's lair itself--no doubt activated by some ruse such as a button hidden behind a tapestry, or within a mural painted on the wall.
  2. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Also, for any of you wondering how a werewolf could wear a silver ring: simple. Laiph would wear it on his right hand--that is to say, the golden prosthesis with its black glove.

    PS: Sorsha's surname in the original Willow was likely Stormdaughter, taking after the heroine Freda Orm's-daughter in Poul Anderson's 1954 fantasy novel The Broken Sword.
  3. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    OK, here's something interesting.

    Recently I've been reading about 19th-century European imperialism in Africa. Of course, many of the imperial wars of Victorian England took place in South Africa. The book I was reading happened to mention a notable Dutch word, used by the Afrikaners of the Transvaal: nachtmaal.

    In fact, nachtmaal is the Dutch name for Holy Communion, or the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist. The word literally translates as "night meal," as in Christ's Last Supper--just as in German the word for Communion is Abendmahl, or "evening meal."

    So it seems that Bavmorda's realm of Nockmaar in Willow actually takes its name from Dutch.... rather like how, in Dutch, the word for "father" is vader.

    This raises the question of just why Bavmorda should have named her Mordor-esque realm of evil sorcery for a sacred Christian rite. Quite possibly I'm right in supposing that GL originally conceived her as a fallen angel in the vein of Morgoth.
  4. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Another religion-related word similar in sound to the Dutch nachtmaal is the Old Norse Naglfar, or "nail-ship." This legendary boat, made from the untrimmed nails of dead men, figured as an ominous vessel in Norse mythology. At the time of Ragnarok, the boat would sail down from the icy north with a crew of corpses, led by the evil fire-giants of Muspelheim--with Loki himself at their head, alongside Hel, goddess of the dead. These evildoers would come to do battle with the Gods at the end of the world.

    As a result of this legend, a superstition arose among Norsemen that corpses should have all their nails trimmed before burial, so as to avoid providing material for the construction of Naglfar--and thus delaying the inevitable end of the world.

    The ending letter R of Naglfar may be where the final R of Nockmaar came from (as opposed to the L of nachtmaal).
  5. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    I come back to this thread with some alarming Good News.

    Alarming, because many of my guesses in this thread were right on target.

    As Orson Welles would have said, "It's all true." From a certain point of view, at least.

    Nonetheless, I plainly got quite a lot about the final film in the unfinished trilogy wrong. Hardly surprising, given how little I had to work with!

    It's time to rewrite the story of The World's End.


    First, a few corrections and errata.

    Like Shasta/Cor in CS Lewis' The Horse and His Boy, Sorsha Stormdaughter probably had an alternate first name, bestowed by her father: Cora.

    As for "Mad" Martigan's wounds, I think I got the specifics wrong. The overall number, however (nine), was most likely correct.

    First off, I'd say I got Martigan's facial scar wrong. Most likely he was not branded on the forehead during his capture in Kael's camp. Instead, he likely suffered a roguish scratch on one cheek, Harrison Ford-style, during his final duel with Kael later in the story.

    (It may well have been implied, however, that Kael sexually abused him as well as Sorsha--a nod to the mutual assault suffered by the hero and heroine in the book version of Logan's Run. Certainly Martigan would have been flogged during his time in the camp.)

    Martigan also likely suffered the loss of all three of his hair braids over the course of the story--leaving him with a short Roman-style haircut, fitting his image in the finale of Willow as Julius Caesar beside Cora's Cleopatra.


    Additionally, the female Intercessor in the Realm of the Dead in The World's End was probably not missing in action. Rather, she would have been gravely weakened, writhing in pain due to the misery of the humans in the mortal realm. Perhaps her agony would even have rendered her unable to speak--so that the Lord of the Dead, the Erlking, forgot to have mercy on the souls upon whom he stood in judgment.

    But if the Intercessor remained in her proper place, what then was the role of Bavmorda?

    Let's shift gears for a moment, and consider another set of works by CS Lewis: the Space Trilogy.

    In that series, each planet in the Solar System is ruled by a powerful being known as an Oyarsa, essentially an angel from Christian cosmology. On most of the worlds of the solar system, the ruling Oyarsa is a kind and benevolent monarch. But on one world--Thulcandra--the Oyarsa fell into corruption. To protect the other planets, this deviant Oyarsa was banished by its fellows, and all communication with its homeworld was cut off.

    Thulcandra is, of course, the angelic name for Earth.

    Presumably therefore Bavmorda played such a role in the cosmology of Willow. As a Morgoth figure, she fell into evil, and desired to rule the Earth and its fallible mortals according to her whims. (One might equally think of the Islamic version of Satan/Iblis, in which the Devil was first banished because he refused to bow before Adam.)

    Bavmorda likely had a different name before her fall: perhaps Futura.

    (This is drawn from the novel version of Metropolis, where Futura is a name given to the Robot Maria by her creator Rotwang.)

    Bavmorda's later name was no doubt an epithet of hatred--one perhaps given to her by the Elf King, even as Feanor renamed Melkor Morgoth, the "Black Enemy," in JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion. (The name Bavmorda itself conjures up an association with Baphomet, the deity supposedly worshipped by the Knights Templar. But of course that was just the excuse given out by King Philip IV of France, who wanted the Templars' gold and didn't care how many men he burned alive to get it.)

    As well, during her journey into the Underworld in Trinity, Elora was probably briefly assaulted by a pack of shimmering spirits--a series of light trails, rather like those seen in the finale of Raiders of the Lost Ark before all the smiting starts. The spirits would fly around her, and then through her, before disappearing into the far horizon. But nothing of significance would be seen to result from this... for the moment.

    (A similar seemingly inconsequential assault happens to Prince Alexander during his time in the Underworld in Sierra's King's Quest VI.)

    Finally, I should note one major correction here. I posited that the twins Corin and Corsanz were male. This was probably not correct. In keeping with the Norns' prophecy to Laif (whose name's spelling I have also rectified), I must assume that all of Elora's children were female. So let's rename these newly re-gendered twins.

    How about Corina and Cortana?

    (And no, that's not meant as a retroactive Halo joke. In fact, Cortana was the name of the sword of Ogier the Dane, a legendary paladin of Charlemagne. Ogier is the main character in Poul Anderson's 1961 fantasy novel Three Hearts and Three Lions, and his sword Cortana is critical to the plot.)


    On to The World's End!

    As King Laif lay dying after banishing his three rebellious daughters, he no doubt called for the greatest knights in all the land, seeking a cure to his mysterious ailment. In truth, it was little more than heartbreak, but none knew that for certain.

    Five of the world's greatest knights came to serve him. One, blond-haired and red-bearded, from Land's End, the home of Airk Thaughbaer. One, dark-haired and blue-eyed, from Galladoorn itself. One, swarthy and dark-eyed, from the former kingdom of the Sultan in the fiery south.

    And two knights from the Eastern lands. One from the fishing villages of the uttermost coast--a woman of Japanese features, who did not hesitate to show her face. (She's basically Tomoe Gozen, the famous female samurai of Japanese lore.) And the other from the Southeast: a knight in black armor, who never removed his helmet.

    You should immediately think of the Five Wizards from The Lord of the Rings. Only three of them--Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast the Brown--appear in the narrative of the story. The other two, the "Blue Wizards," went into the East long ago, and never appear in Tolkien's story as characters in their own right.

    As for these characters, I think I can only put a name to one: the black-helmeted knight. Let's call him.... uh.... let's use the name Samus Aran.

    No, really.

    Obviously, if I'm going to use that name, she's clearly going to be another Eowyn figure. But the name is apt for another reason, which I won't spoil yet.

    These five knights all would have failed to find the Grail--the magical pool of golden liquid--before Laif's three daughters did. They would, however, be prepared to march on Castle Galladoorn when Cortana staged her coup. They would be intercepted, however, by Martigan and Cora, newly returned from Tir Asleen, at the head of an army of diminutive Elves. (I should note in passing that the second-in-command of the Elf army was likely a woman.)

    Like the Old Regime powers at the outbreak of the French Revolution, the nations of Good would have sent forth their armies to contain the dark forces marshaled by their nominal overlord, Cortana. They would, therefore, besiege the castle of Galladoorn, and demand the release of the prisoners within.


    Unbeknownst to the besiegers, Laif, Elora, and Marazad had already been released in secret by two of their daughters: Guneril and Gunrai, who felt remorse at Cortana's murder of their sisters.

    The three dead sisters--Corina, Cordella, and Coravis--were likely mutilated as follows:

    Each one would have had their eyes gouged out and their ears cut off. This was done to make a necklace of eyes and ears, rather like the necklace of skulls worn by the goddess Kali in Hindu myth.

    But Cortana would have killed each sister by a different method. Cordella would have had her heart torn out, and Coravis's throat would have been slit. Corina, meanwhile, was likely stabbed in the gut by a spear, like King Arthur when he dueled his son Mordred in the Battle of Camlann.


    Not knowing of her grandchildren's fate, Cora, in the camp outside the castle, came to her own decision.

    Taking up her own cloak of invisibility, wearing it over a suit of silver armor, she crept alone and in secret into the Castle, to confront her granddaughter and liberate the hostages.

    (Think of this as a dark twist on the story of Little Red Riding Hood.)

    In the throne room, a confrontation ensued--one that Cora could not hope to resolve by force of arms.

    Like Alia Atreides in Children of Dune, Cortana had delved into her ancestral memory, and given her body to one of her ancestors.... the one Cora feared most of all.


    The duel that followed was no doubt intense... but the outcome was certain. Cora lost her sword hand, and was taken as a prisoner to the castle dungeons--where she was to become her mother's willing slave once more.

    In fact, I suspect that the possessed Cortana actually would've used her magic to cause Cora's right hand to explode. This gruesome image recurs in Mike Carey's Lucifer comic (the best of the spinoffs of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series).


    In the dungeons, Cortana visited her grandmother--or was it her daughter? Bodily possession makes proper pronoun use so difficult.

    Cora was no doubt in a sorry state. Very likely she had been flogged, and beaten to the point of losing an eye. Her teeth, too, were rather less numerous than formerly. (The Roman emperor Tiberius had this exact fate meted out to his rebellious sister-in-law Agrippina in real life.)

    Cortana/Bavmorda taunted Cora with the truth of her heritage--that she and Martigan were in fact half-siblings, and therefore incestuous lovers.

    In the end, Cora was coerced into drinking a poisoned liquor. Like the drink of forgetfulness consumed by Siegfried in Norse myth (or the drink of the Thuggee cult forced on Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom), this drink blotted out all memories of Martigan and her father, all thoughts of a life outside of her mother's dark embrace.

    Sorsha was reborn.


    Meanwhile, on a pyre in no-man's-land, three dead bodies burned... and three grieving parents hurled themselves into the flames.


    Martigan, in anguish over his wife's disappearance, and his five knights anxiously awaited a herald from the Castle.

    At last, one came.

    She was a barbarian warrior, clad only in a loincloth. Her body was covered with painted tattoos in blue. Her golden hair was cropped close to the head. Her teeth were few, and her right arm ended in a stump just below the elbow.

    The long-suppressed sun emblem of Bavmorda was a livid brand on her forehead.

    One of her eyes was purple and crazed; the other, milky blue and blind.

    Bavmorda knew just how to twist the knife in men's hearts.


    Naturally, a duel resulted.

    At first, even with one arm, Sorsha had the upper hand. Her brutal, crazed strength won out over Martigan's practiced skill with a blade. And of course, he did not wish to harm her. He would have died--except that, by a quirk of fate, his last sword stroke triggered something in Sorsha's addled memory.

    Even as he fell, he hewed at her. But in his fall, his sword did more damage than he planned--and it cut off Sorsha's nose.

    (Insert your own Tyrion Lannister joke here.)


    Deep in Sorsha's brain, a memory of a long-ago day in a seedy roadside tavern came back to her. An encounter with a young Nelwyn and a human girl-child... and a handsome but melancholy warrior, clad in fisherman's rags.

    The warrior, she remembered now, had broken her nose in his escape.

    And now her sole purple eye saw once again clearly.

    With her good hand, Cora helped Martigan to his feet.


    Watching from the castle parapet, Bavmorda was enraged.

    She conjured three stone statues, each with multiple arms, to fight the invaders. She summoned a werewolf, specially bred, and a monstrous serpent, as familiars to aid her.

    To the heroes' aid now came Meegosh, the immortal Nelwyn warrior, leading an army of his people. And with him came the two sisters, Guneril and Gunrai, who had been transformed by Cortana's magic into a bear and an eagle. Each sister led an army of her own kind of animals. (Think of the Eagles and Beorn in the climactic Battle of Five Armies in the book version of The Hobbit.)

    And lastly came the three resurrected sisters--Corina, Cordella, and Coravis--whose parents had traded their lives for those of their dead children.

    The three sisters, fresh from the pyre, were all pale and hairless, earless and eyeless. But they could see--thanks to Elora's two blue sapphire orbs of sight, and their own two golden gems of scrying. And they could hear--thanks to the cries of Marazad's talking bird, now reborn as a flesh-and-blood phoenix, whose language reverberated within their heads.

    This trio used their swords--purified in the pyre's flames--to defeat the three stone statues.

    Meanwhile, the captains of the heroes' armies led a charge against the other enemies. In the van were Meegosh and the Elven shield-maiden, fighting side by side, and four of the five knights of the Grail--all except Samus Aran.

    Pan, the satyr god of the forests, fought the serpent, and slew, but himself was mortally wounded in the process. And the werewolf faced down Samus Aran, who lost her helmet and an eye in the battle, but ultimately killed the beast.

    Forget what you know of Nintendo's Samus Aran as a blonde: this she-knight would no doubt have been a black African woman. We might easily compare her to Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek. In fact, perhaps her real first name was that old Trek fan suggestion dating all the way back to 1982: Nyota. (Samus' nom de guerre is intended here as a pun on the famous African-American entertainer Sammy Davis Jr., who lost an eye in a car accident. David and Aaron are of course both names from the Old Testament.)


    At last, Bavmorda would herself be forced to take the field.

    She would transform herself into a fire-breathing dragon, a harbinger of Death.... much like Maleficent in the climax of Sleeping Beauty.

    Nonetheless, Cora would know how to defeat her.


    The Dragon of Death was blind.... except to mortal souls, which it loved to consume.

    But even a Dragon is fallible. So it usually settled for eating the next best thing, the clearest bodily representation of the soul.... the eyes.

    (Think of a fire-breathing dragon version of the Corinthian from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics.)

    However, there was a catch. So long as you could not see the Dragon yourself, it would think you were soulless, and thus avoid you. (Here we have a dark version of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. "If you can't see it, it can't see you.")


    Cora explained this to Martigan, and told him to blindfold himself, so they could attack the Dragon. He did so.

    Then she directed him to go over to a nearby fallen corpse--the remains of one of the stone statues. She told him to cut out its eyes with his dagger. With these, she said, she hoped to fool the beast into attacking ersatz prey.

    Martigan agreed.

    But Cora had not told him the whole truth.... the Dragon could be distracted only by the eyes of a living soul.

    So even as Martigan cut out the eyes of the statue, Cora raised her own dagger in her left hand--and gouged out both her own eyes.

    The involuntary scream caused Martigan to remove his blindfold.

    (This particular moment draws heavily on another classic Sierra adventure game--1993's Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. The hero, the blond and green-eyed Gabriel Knight, is confronted with a similar dilemma deep inside an African tribal burial mound, where a sacrificial table holds a sacred talisman. Much as Cora does here, Gabriel's great-uncle Wolfgang manages to deceive him long enough to unlock the table and reveal the talisman--at the cost of Wolfgang's own life.)


    With Martigan, and Cora's gouged-out eyes, acting as bait, Cora was able to get the drop on the Dragon and slay it. However, she was fatally burned in the process, and Martigan himself was mortally wounded.

    He lay dying slowly, holding Cora as the last spark of life left her, and she perished in his arms.


    But that was not the end of Bavmorda. She had one last trick up her sleeve.

    Even as Cora struck at her heart, she transformed once more, becoming a world-consuming fire that spread out from horizon to horizon. This was what burned Cora to death. (Think of Gil-galad and Elendil fighting Sauron at the end of the Second Age in The Lord of the Rings. Gil-galad in particular was killed by "the heat of Sauron's hand," as the eyewitness Isildur recounts.)

    Even the three reborn sisters began to despair.


    And then from the east came a new hope: Willow Ufgood, the white-robed Archmage, with his round spectacles (the fruit of years of book study) as neatly arranged as ever.

    Willow exchanged a few last words with Meegosh, his old friend and companion. Then, for the last time, he began to work his magic.

    First he transformed Guneril and Gunrai into smaller and more nimble forms: a badger and a fox, respectively. He also transformed (for reasons the Biblical Noah would have understood) another bear, and another eagle, into the same shapes.

    Then, he rooted his magic staff in the ground, and reshaped his own body.... becoming at last the willow tree, the World Tree, whose destiny his very name foretold.

    The survivors of the carnage--Corina, Cordella, Coravis, the Elf-maiden, and the five Grail knights--dragged Pan and Martigan up into the tree. Martigan, though, would not leave Cora's body to the flames, and took it up as well. Guneril and Gunrai, in animal form, also took shelter in its branches.

    At last, after what seemed an eternity of waiting, clouds formed in the smoky sky. A great rain came from the heavens, and Bavmorda's fire was put out.


    When it was over, the survivors clambered down, to find a new and strange world, covered with curious plant life in remarkable colors.

    The badger and the fox, happy to reach ground once more, took off into the underbrush. Nine months later, Guneril and Gunrai would give birth to some very unusual progeny.

    (This is another Norse mythology reference. The trickster god Loki was once tasked by Odin with distracting a giant who was building the walls of Valhalla. If the giant finished late, he had to forfeit his fee. Loki did this by transforming into a mare and eloping with the giant's horse. The ploy worked--but nine months later, Loki gave birth to an eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, which Odin promptly took for his own steed.)

    The trio of resurrected sisters, Corina, Cordella, and Coravis, began to heal the wounds of the survivors. (Think of them as essentially the three fairies from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.)

    Through their magic, they divided the four Stones of Seeing each in two. Two of the blue ones could see the past, and two the future. These blue gems Cordella and Coravis took for themselves as new eyes. Two of the other four, the gold ones which could see the present, were kept by Corina for herself.

    (The eyes in question probably were meant to have their sclera and iris be two different shades of the same color--like the "blue-within-blue" eyes of melange addiction from Frank Herbert's Dune.)

    All three sisters now regrew their ears--which came in pointed and Elf-like, fitting their inhumanly pale skin. Their hair grew back as well: Corina's and Cordella's came in white, but Coravis's new hair was black.

    They healed Madmartigan's grievous wounds, by having him drink from the Grail, which had survived the funeral pyre. In the process, his dark hair and beard turned golden.

    As well, they cured their transfigured sisters, Guneril and Gunrai. Now Guneril returned to human shape, as a golden-haired woman; but while Gunrai's hair was red, her skin was a pale blue. Each of them retained a magical garment, which allowed them to transform at will. Guneril had a dress which let her become a mermaid, and Gunrai had a pair of wings, with which she could fly as a bird. (Their final forms are respectively modeled on Daryl Hannah in the 1984 film Splash and the Harpies in Ray Harryhausen's 1963 Jason and the Argonauts. The mermaid-garment idea is taken from Scottish lore about selkies.)

    Lastly, Pan gave his own life, faint and fading as it was, to revive Cora.

    She too came back with the pallor of those who have passed through Death. Her formerly golden hair now grew in black. And instead of the hated sun brand of Bavmorda upon her forehead, a pair of ribbed goat horns, like those of Pan himself, sprouted from there instead.

    She took from Corina the last two gems of Seeing--and thus Cora's new eyes too were golden in color.

    (Note the transformation here: Cora/Sorsha started out with golden hair and purple eyes, like Aurora in Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Now, however, she has albino-white skin, yellow eyes, and two horns--rather more in the vein of Maleficent. Shades of the two Marias in Metropolis once again.)

    And, to replace her missing right hand, Cora took up Laif's own prosthesis--now burned black, alone of the items on the pyre, by the magical heat of the flames. Or was it something else? After all, in the Realm of the Dead, this item's ghostly analogue was what Laif cast down to challenge the Erlking.

    The sisters also offered to replace Nyota's eye--but she decided to keep it, as a fitting memento of the world-shaking battle.


    In fact, Corina, Cordella, and Coravis were each in their own way a daughter of Bavmorda.

    Long ago, when the Elf King had been in love with Bavmorda, the fallen angel had had a series of miscarriages, before the eventual birth of Cora/Sorsha. The Elf King did not love his bride any less for this--for he did not know the truth behind these stillbirths.

    With her angelic foresight, Bavmorda had known that the first three daughters of her womb would not be suitable tools for her dark plans. So she used her medicinal arts to slay them in her womb, before ever they came to true life. Cora's spirit suited Bavmorda's plans better--but to ensure her daughter's obedience, she ran away from Tir Asleen, with newborn child in tow, soon after the birth. Not that it availed much in the end.

    (This is a subtle reference to Aztec cosmology, wherein the world was created and destroyed four times, before the gods were finally satisfied with the Earth's fifth form. The number here, though--three abortive creations--is likely an allusion to Jack Kirby's Fourth World comic series.)

    It was these girls' unborn souls who invaded Elora Danan's body during her journey to the Underworld in Trinity--along with their mother, who sought a path back into mortal life.


    In the Realm of the Dead, Laif passed sentence upon Bavmorda.

    She could not be imprisoned in Death forever; she had proven that already. Eventually, she would contrive an escape.

    No. Such evil must be bound more securely.

    She would be given her own planet to rule--a world so harsh, so unyielding in its fierceness, that no life could ever survive there.

    A new world would therefore be created for her: a shadow sister to Earth, whose fires would provide a merciful death to anyone or anything unfortunate enough to journey there.

    Bavmorda was given a new name. Perhaps it was Antanna.

    And she was exiled to the new planet of Venus.


    The name Antanna comes from the French antan, or "yesteryear," made famous in a medieval poem by Francois Villon: "Where are the snows of yesteryear?" It is also designed to echo another French word: jadis, meaning roughly "in olden times." This word was made famous by CS Lewis as the proper name of the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia.

    As for Bavmorda's exile to Venus--it's quite clearly a riff on the fallen "Silent Planet" (i.e., Earth) of CS Lewis's Space Trilogy. However, it's also an inversion of the story of Earendil in JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion: the valiant wandering mariner whose ascent to the sky, as the Evening Star or Venus, signifies new hope for Men and Elves in their war against Morgoth. Of course, Tolkien knew full well that another name for the planet Venus, in the Latin text of the Bible, was Lucifer.
  6. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Small side note regarding couples in the finale of The World's End:

    Obviously, the three male Grail Knights would end up paired off with the trio of sisters: Corina, Cordella, and Coravis. Meegosh, in turn, would presumably end up linked with the female Elf warrior--his equal in stature.

    The two female Knights, however--the Japanese woman and the African Samus Aran--were likely lesbian lovers, in the vein of Haruka and Michiru (Sailors Uranus and Neptune) from the anime Sailor Moon. After all, the symbol of the Sultan's family in Trinity was apparently a crescent moon tattoo on the forehead... like a certain odango-haired blonde I could name.

    (Intriguingly, I just now learned that while the Japanese word for that particular hairstyle translates as "rice dumpling," one Chinese term for it instead means "ox horns." Quite interesting in light of the symbolism associated with Sorsha/Cora in Willow.)
  7. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    A few other thoughts on The World's End:

    It's likely that the moon in the Willow universe was originally red in color... symbolizing the dominion of evil over the Earth.

    When Cortana/Bavmorda transformed herself into a dragon, she would do so by calling down the blood-red moon from the sky--shrinking it in the process until it was a red orb in her hands. This she would crack, and she would merge her own body with the gaseous vapors within--giving birth to the Dragon of Death.

    (In Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics, the witch Thessaly calls down the moon in similar fashion in one of her dark magical rituals, and very nearly destroys the world as a result. Gaiman's Sherlock Holmes AU short story A Study in Emerald also refers to the moon changing color, from pallid yellowish-white in ancient times to a "comforting crimson" under the rule of the Lovecraftian Great Old Ones. And anyone who's watched the past season of Doctor Who will probably spot a link here as well.)

    With Bavmorda's demise and the remaking of the world, the new Gods would create a new moon--one of shining white, as a sign that Bavmorda's evil had passed.

    On the renewed Earth, Cora, revived by Pan's sacrifice, would seek out food. She would pluck the low-hanging fruit of a nearby tree and eat it. This fruit was likely a golden apple. (In this case, it's likely that the Elf King's fruit tree in Tir Asleen was a peach tree instead, whose fruit was akin to the legendary Chinese peaches of immortality featured in the unmade Indiana Jones and the Monkey King.)

    The golden apple, despite its beauty, would stain Cora's teeth black. Her horns, the mark of Pan, would diminish and disappear--leaving only two reddish-brown circles on her forehead where they had been.

    (Apples have a long, long history in Western symbolism and mythology. In the Garden of Eden, the apple which Eve ate gave her knowledge of Good and Evil. But there was also the Greek goddess Eris, who started the Trojan War by getting the other goddesses to fight over a golden apple.)

    Suddenly cold in her nakedness, Cora would ask Martigan for his outer cloak, and he would give it to her. Cora would cover herself, as much from embarrassment as actual cold.

    That night, the world would see the first silver moon--a mark of the new order.

    In the moonlight, something strange would happen to Cora. Her black hair would fall out from her head, and her horns regrow. And, possessed by an inner heat, she would throw Martigan's cloak from her, and give herself to a frenzy of sensual abandon.

    Fritz Lang told a lie, you see.

    The "True Maria" and the "False Maria" of Metropolis were not, in truth, two different beings.

    They were, in fact, the same Maria.... only one lay buried deeper than the other.

    Ever seen The Prestige?


    I should note, in passing, the two contrasting appearances of Cora by night and by day--the one form horned and hairless, the other much more traditionally feminine. This actually has precedent in the Star Wars galaxy, with the very different male and female forms of the Devaronians, a species that exhibits extreme sexual dimorphism.

    Cora's daytime appearance--dark hair, pale skin, blackened teeth, and two spots on the forehead--is clearly meant to resemble a traditional Japanese geisha, but with the golden eyes common to supernatural women in Japanese folklore. Her much more goat-like nighttime visage, on the other hand, returns to the Golden Fleece symbolism established in Willow. (As well as to that of her mother, Bavmorda, whose namesake--the demon Baphomet--is also known for some reason as the "Goat of Mendes.")
  8. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    More corrections (or rather, revisions):

    In the Realm of the Dead, the Prosecutrix and the Intercessor probably both wore appearances related to Cora's eventual look in the finale of The World's End.

    So the Prosecutrix likely had dark hair and albino-pale skin, golden eyes, and two reddish-brown circles on her forehead. (That is to say, she looks like a supernatural geisha of sorts.)

    Meanwhile, the Intercessor presumably also had pale skin and golden eyes--but she was probably bald, and had two goat-like horns protruding from her forehead.

    Both of their eye colors represent the sight of the Eternal Now--judgment and mercy alike used to see the deceased as they currently are.

    But the Erlking, the Lord of the Dead, would have blue-within-blue eyes, representing his vision of the past and the future at once. His hair and beard would be white, and a pair of stag's antlers would grow from his forehead. His legs, and one of his arms, would have withered away to bones, like the goddess Hel in Norse mythology. (It's possible that, in contrast to Laif's missing right hand, the Erlking's left hand would be the withered one--representing the renewal through change which Laif's coming represents.)


    In the finale of The World's End, Cora would likely not have grown horns as soon as she was resurrected. Rather, she would have merely had two red-brown spots upon her pale forehead--an earthly reflection of the divine Prosecutrix.

    Feeling extreme hunger upon being resurrected, she caught sight of a tree of golden apples. Wary of animal life, Martigan reached up with his left hand to get an apple for her--and found that his arm was bitten by a poisonous snake in the process. Taking up his old sword, Martigan cut the snake in two--and the tree itself promptly withered and died.

    The fruit of the tree stained Cora's teeth black, and she cast it aside in disgust. But there was a more pressing problem--Martigan would die unless his wound was treated. So, lacking better medicine in the newly reborn world, Cora cut off his hand with a flaming sword, whose passing cauterized its own wound.

    But Cora was still hungry. And she feared that she would die again if she did not eat.

    In desperation, Martigan turned to the one source of food ready at hand--the body of Pan.

    Cora ate of the satyr's flesh..... and two goatish horns grew upon her forehead.

    Now her throat began to burn with the salt of Pan's flesh. Martigan handed her the Grail, which filled itself with red wine. And Cora drank.

    Immediately, she was rocked by painful convulsions, and lost all bodily control.

    In the sky, the moon rose, beautiful in its new silver color.

    At last, Cora stood up, cured of her bodily ills.

    The dark hair of her head had fallen out.... but her horns gleamed in the moonlight, and she smiled at Martigan with her ebony teeth. She was now an exact image of the divine Intercessor.

    For further explanation as to what this image represents, I refer you to the words of mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: "This is the best of all possible worlds."


    The Christian symbolism of Cora's three meals--the apple from the Garden of Eden, and the "body and blood" of the Eucharist--should be obvious. Less obvious perhaps is the withering of the tree, which invokes an incident in the New Testament: in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, Jesus curses a fig tree to wither, because it refuses to bear fruit for the use of Men.

    I should also note that in Jeffrey Boam's "third-revision" draft for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, it is not Donovan (or "Chandler," as he was then known), but rather Elsa herself, who drinks from the false Grail and ages rapidly into a skeleton.
  9. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    More notes and addenda:

    Cora's physical transformation in the finale of The World's End would likely have progressed slightly differently than I earlier supposed.

    Upon returning to life, she would have been deathly pale and golden-eyed, but bald. After eating the cursed apple, her teeth would turn black. Then, once she ate of Pan's body, dark hair would sprout from her head, and two circular geisha-like dots would appear on her forehead. Lastly, after Cora drank from the Grail, two goat-like horns would emerge from her forehead, where the two dot markings had previously been.

    Martigan, meanwhile, would likely transform into an Elvish figure himself upon drinking from the Grail. His hair and skin would turn deathly white; his ears would grow points; and his eyes, like Cora's, would turn gold-within-gold.

    (Essentially, he's gone from resembling Robert E. Howard's literary Conan the Barbarian to mirroring Michael Moorcock's albino protagonist Elric of Melniboné.)

    As for the Intercessor and the Prosecutrix in the Realm of the Dead, their appearances too were likely different than I imagined at first,

    The Intercessor would resemble Cora's ultimate physical form (i.e., she'd have albino-white skin and yellow eyes). But she would be bald, and the pupils of her golden eyes would be shaped like horizontal bars, akin to those of real goats. (There do have to be some differences between Earth and Heaven, after all.)

    The Prosecutrix, meanwhile, would likely resemble a medieval artist's depiction of Death: a skeletal figure draped with sallow flesh, but totally hairless, and skull-faced, missing its nose and eyes and lips. (I'm thinking here in particular of Hans Memling's Strasbourg altarpiece, Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation.)


    As for Guneril and Gunrai's final forms, they would likely return from transfiguration as pallid as their sisters, but with different hair colors. One would likely have blue hair, and one would have green. (This is a nod to the outlandish hair colors of certain pale-skinned ladies who show up in the SF works of Leigh Brackett.)

    I have so far left out dealing with the trio of neutral sisters in the family conflict. Let's call them Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros. (I've slightly amended the last name in the sequence, to better accord with the proper sequence of the three Greek Fates.)

    Having woven themselves magical swan-feather garments, they would survive the world-shaking battle by taking on animal form. But when they doffed them, their skins would now likely be pale blue--a symbol of their passionless neutrality. Corth would have golden hair, Matrandi red hair, and Skaltros's hair would be black--respectively symbolizing youth, fertility, and death.

    The idea of attractive blue-skinned women ("blue-skinned space babes," as TV Tropes would put it) goes all the way back to Alexei Tolstoy's 1924 Russian SF novel Aelita, a Soviet take on Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter stories.


    The hired pirate ship which took the three good daughters (Corina, Cordella, and Coravis) across the Eastern Sea earlier in the film likely had a motley and diverse crew.

    Most likely, I'd guess, the ship would have had nine crewmen. The grizzled old captain, and six mates: one golden-haired and bearded; another brown-haired; the third, a redhead; the fourth, of Japanese origins; the fifth, an African. The sixth man would be a taciturn stranger, from unknown lands far off in the East: a Native American to our eyes.

    Also on the crew would be two women--let's say a green-eyed redhead and a dark-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian. (Once again we run into fictional analogues of Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Their hair colors here match the stereotypical traits of Irish and English people, like the real Bonny and Read respectively.)

    During the shipwreck upon the Wizards' Island, four of the crew would be killed: the aged captain, the Native American sailor, and the two women. Resentful at this bad fortune, the surviving sailors would refuse to travel further with the three heroines, whom they would see as ill-starred, rather like Jonah in the Bible.

    Nonetheless, Archmage Willow Ufgood would treat the surviving sailors hospitably. And he would conserve the washed-up bodies of the four drowned sailors--for a science experiment.


    The Island of the Lotus Eaters would presumably have three guardian women, who would be able to tell Corina what had happened to her sisters. (Think of Ramandu's daughter, Caspian's future bride, who lives on the Isle of the Sleepers in CS Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.)

    These women would, I suppose, be a blue-eyed redhead; an Arab woman resembling young Marazad from Trinity, and a Native American woman. (The Three Faces of Eve, perhaps?)


    Just as Madmartigan had his own lieutenants in the great climactic battle, Sorsha would have two aides of her own. These also would be women. (Think of the God-Emperor Leto Atreides' all-female corps of Fish Speaker bodyguards in God Emperor of Dune.)

    I suspect that, ideally, one of Sorsha's captains would be blonde and blue-eyed, with one side of her hair shaven off. The other would have long dark hair and green eyes.

    Both would survive the battle, though the dark-haired woman (like her counterpart, Samus Aran) would be blinded in one eye.


    As part of her magic rituals in the final battle, Bavmorda would be able to control the weather, bringing down fiery hailstones upon her foes. Worse, when things began to turn against her, she would go to the ultimate extreme.

    Calling down the old scarlet Moon, and shrinking it as it fell, Bavmorda would crush it between her fingers, releasing the dreaded Serpent coiled within. And then, stretching out a long magical Scythe, she would extinguish the sun itself.

    This latter idea comes from the story of the Jewish general Joshua in the Old Testament. In order to ensure that the Hebrews have enough daylight to win a battle, Joshua calls upon God to stop the sun and moon in the sky. God obliges (showing a distinct lack of understanding of Copernican physics in the process), the sun halts in its course, and the Israelites win the day.

    Bavmorda's power over the sun is mentioned at the start of the Willow novelization, where she is seen chanting invocations before each sunrise to make the sun come over the horizon. In the novel it comes off rather as self-delusion, but given her evident power in the film itself, she's clearly not one to be trifled with.


    When Bavmorda's dragon form was defeated, the Archmage Willow Ufgood would at last take the field in the final battle. Alongside him would be the three women from the Island of the Lotus Eaters, and also the survivors of the shipwreck on the Wizards' Island.

    But also those who hadn't survived the wreck: the captain, his mate, and the two female pirates. Their souls would now be housed within shining metallic bodies. For the men, one would be silver and one bronze. One of the women would be golden in color, and the other, bronze as well. (Note the trio of colors. The missing male and female robots stand for the golden C-3PO in SW, and the Robot Maria from Metropolis.)

    How had Willow done this? Simple: he had thrown open the Earthly gates of Death itself, which lay in the Wizards' keeping.

    A mighty Army of the Dead now came forth to confront Bavmorda's regiments of monsters.

    Two spirits led them: the Elf-King, Cora's deceased father, and his long-lost lover, whom he had thrown over years ago in favor of Bavmorda. The sorceress, Fin Raziel, now restored to the bloom of youth, with her brown hair shining and her green dress contrasting against the fiery landscape of the battle.

    (The story of Sorsha's father and his two female lovers--Fin Raziel and Bavmorda--comes from the Willow novelization. Fin Raziel's original hair color as brown is an idea taken from the fairy godmother/earth-goddess Habundia in William Morris' fantasy novel The Water of the Wondrous Isles.)


    Unless I've specifically said that they die, you can assume that all of the Living mentioned so far take shelter in the World Tree during the great fire at the climax of the story. (In case you're curious, the exact total of Earthly survivors--not counting the dying Pan, or Willow himself--is 33.)

    With the defeat of Bavmorda, most of the Dead would return to the Land of the Dead. Not all, however--a few would likely stick around.

    In the end, the Elf-King and Fin Raziel would pass on into space, going forth to rekindle the Sun. Stepping into a magical flying boat, they would ascend (like Earendil in JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion) to light the world from above. Perhaps this would be the ultimate fate of the Holy Grail in-story: to be transfigured into a golden shining light, providing life and heat to the Earth and its sister planets.

    Bavmorda's great Scythe, meanwhile, would be hammered into a mirrored silver circle. This too would be set into the sky, as an enormous mirror to reflect sunlight down to the Earth in the hours of darkness: the new Moon, silver in color.
  10. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Further bulletins as events warrant:

    The diminutive Elf shieldmaiden in The World's End, I presume, had brown hair, rather like Fin Raziel in her youth.


    As far as other yet-nameless characters go:

    It's likely that the blue-eyed redhead and the Arab woman, whom I earlier assumed lived on the Isle of the Lotus Eaters, actually dwelt in the Emerald City on the Wizards' Island, within a special sanctuary. (Think of them as essentially like the Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome--maidens consecrated to divine service.)

    Within the treasure vaults of the Emerald City would be four special things of note:

    1) Three giant hourglasses, full of red sand. Two would be securely capped, and would long ago have run their course; but the third would be open, and still running. One of the Maidens would be tasked with keeping this hourglass continually running, by pouring red sand constantly into its aperture, and emptying it whenever it grew overstuffed. This was meant as a magic ritual of sorts to avert the Apocalypse.

    2) A giant Scythe, hanging from the rafters of the treasure chamber. The second Maiden would be tasked with keeping this blade polished. Its power was such that it could kill the stars themselves--thus the reason for the Wizards' tight control over it.

    3) Lastly, a sealed treasure vault, to which only the Archmage had the key. This is what Willow would bring the three girls into the treasure chamber to see, and it's where he'd retrieve their three gifts: a corked jar of red mist (containing a genie), a lodestone in the shape of a fish (really a compass pointing to the World's End), and a humble wooden cup (destined to become the Grail).

    4) Before the doors of the treasure vault stood a large crystal sphere: a crystal ball, used to observe events in the rest of the world.

    This sphere was meant to have an attendant at all times. But now it usually stood unobserved--because the third Maiden, whose job it was to tend it, had long ago run away, seeking a better life in the world of ordinary Men.

    Her name was Fin Raziel.


    As a corollary, the Native American woman who dwelt on the Isle of the Lotus Eaters would actually live alone--her male companion having run away to live among the pirates of the ordinary lands.

    And, just when Corina passed through the twin guardian statues at the World's End... in the treasure chamber of the Emerald City, the glass crystal ball would shatter of its own accord.


    When Bavmorda came to her full might in Cortana's body, she would send winged phantoms to seize the great Scythe of the Wizards.

    The two Maidens would resist, but Archmage Willow would call them off, to save their lives.

    But before they left, the phantom creatures would shatter the three hourglasses, spilling red sand everywhere.

    (A whole heck of a lot of these scenes in the Emerald City were incorporated into LucasArts' 1990 adventure game LOOM.)


    It seems probable that the three "neutral" sisters--Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros--would eventually come out against Cortana, and fight on the side of the heroes.

    Cortana/Bavmorda likely observed the final battle from the parapet of Galladoorn Castle. However, to protect herself during the fight, she very probably stood within a magic circle, whose inner markings formed a six-pointed star. At the star's six outer corners, six magic candles burned, which protected Bavmorda from outward attack.

    The three weaver-women, Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros--who, most likely, had been the ones to teach Cortana magic in the first place--would each snuff out two of these candles, leaving their sister physically vulnerable. (Perhaps they would do it by proxy, via a magical ritual elsewhere in a place of safety. I'm picturing something like the traditional three-step Catholic ritual of excommunication, which involves ringing a bell, closing a book, and blowing out a candle.)

    This is the point at which Bavmorda would at last despair--and begin to destroy the world itself. First, by extinguishing the Sun with her Scythe; breaking the Moon and freeing the serpent inside; and loosing a terrible werewolf from the bowels of the Earth. But even these stratagems would fail... forcing her to transform herself, first into the Dragon of Death, and then into all-consuming fire itself.


    "As above, so below."

    It seems that I guessed rightly when I earlier predicted that Bavmorda was originally the Angel of Mercy, who left the Realm of the Dead in order to seek power in the mortal world. She would therefore be a dark mirror of Fin Raziel, another magical maiden who likewise abandoned her duties.

    As a result, there would be a vacuum in the Otherworld--and the gods themselves would have sickened. This explains both the Prosecutrix's hideous skeletal form, and the bony legs and left hand of the Erlking himself.

    Accordingly, when Laif, Elora, and Marazad took up their new duties, they would take on new, divine bodily forms--only better than the infirm bodies of their predecessors.

    Laif, the new Erlking, would resemble the old Lord of the Dead, except in that his legs and left arm would be whole and intact.

    Marazad, meanwhile, would turn into a beautiful, fair-haired and fair-skinned woman, with piercing silver eyes. But she would still be the Prosecutrix, the heavenly "Devil's Advocate." (Her new appearance is in fact an oblique reference to John Keats' famous poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci: "the beautiful, merciless lady.")

    The blind Elora, meanwhile, would become bald and pale-skinned, with the horns and golden eyes of a goat, as I described above. (Insert your own joke about the Christian symbolism of the Lamb of God here.)


    In earlier posts I detailed the gates of the Realm of the Dead, where the Erlking held court in an ancient pyramid. The pyramid's outer door would force intruders to ask it a question, directly recalling the medieval legend of Perceval and the Grail King: "Whom do you serve?"

    The interior corridors of the pyramid, however, would be quite HR Giger-esque in style. (In fact, in early drafts of the original 1979 Alien, the Xenomorph eggs were actually located inside a mysterious pyramid on the surface of the alien planet.)

    There would likely be one final door deep within the bowels of the pyramid, leading to the throne room of the Erlking himself. This too would be locked--but only after the fashion of the bandits' cave in the tale of Ali Baba, or the western doors of JRR Tolkien's Mines of Moria.

    One had simply to say "Open, please," and the door would unlock.


    Lastly, though Martigan would likely have to kill a venomous serpent when he plucked an apple for Cora in the finale, the snake would probably not bite him. So he wouldn't lose an arm after all.
  11. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    An unanswered question: How did Martigan and Cora travel so quickly from Tir Asleen to Galladoorn when they were needed?

    I would guess that the Elves' silver city of Tir Asleen, like the Emerald City of the Wizards, had its own subterranean secrets.

    In fact, I'd say it had a hidden vault of its own, whose contents were much more potent than a gateway into the Underworld.

    The depths of Tir Asleen, I gather, held the Gates of Horn and Ivory--the traditional entrance, from Roman times onward, into the Land of Dreams.

    Like the Kwisatz Haderach of Dune ("the one who can be many places at once"), anyone who went through this gate would have the ability to emerge wherever and whenever they liked--or even in an alternate reality. But the catch was this: if a wanderer strayed from his intended path, and stopped to look at the sights of the Dreamland, he would in all likelihood end up stranded in an entirely unexpected place and time.

    Nevertheless, there was no other option. They had to try.

    So, like Aragorn leading his army through the perilous Paths of the Dead to save Gondor in The Lord of the Rings, Martigan and Cora took their army of Elven warriors through this portal, in order to come to Galladoorn's aid in time.

    Martigan, Cora, and several other Elves (including the brown-haired shieldmaiden) made it through safely. Most, however, were lost in the peril of the passage.

    Still, it was enough to save the day, in the end.


    The passage through the Gate of Horn and Ivory was no doubt meant to be quite surrealistic. Like an LSD trip on celluloid, or the climax of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    But even more than that: it was likely meant to be a meta-narrative of sorts.

    I think that, rather than explain this effect, I shall simply try to recreate it.


    As Martigan stepped through the Gate, he was overwhelmed by a new sensation: total perception.

    Worlds flashed before his eyes. Some familiar, many not.

    He saw once again the great battle at the gates of Nockmaar, where Airk Thaughbaer died so many years ago. He relived his encounter with Willow Ufgood and Meegosh, at the riverbank by the crossroads.

    He saw his encounter with Sorsha, in her tent in Kael's camp. But strangely, in this version of the moment, she had frizzy red hair, and wore a nightgown--and no tattoo had ever marked her forehead.

    Then, even more strangely, the scene pulled back, to reveal other observers whom Martigan did not recognize. Two of them in particular caught his attention.

    One, a red-haired man with a mustache, was pointing some strange instrument at the overall scene. It reminded Martigan of the camera obscura used by the Guild of Painters to render landscapes--only this device did not cast an inverted image of its visions on any wall.

    The other man, standing by the red-haired fellow, spoke little, but he was clearly the senior of the two. His dark hair and beard were just beginning to turn gray, and his red flannel shirt bore the signs of much laundering; clearly it was well loved.


    Now the scene changed once more.

    A monocled man with a receding hairline stood in front of a silvery-bronze automaton, giving orders. The bronze being reminded Martigan of the clockwork machines found in the Sultan's palace, in the country far south of Galladoorn. But this particular machine was unlike any Martigan had ever seen--for it had the body of a woman.

    As Martigan watched, another man removed the head of the machine, revealing a golden-haired woman of flesh and blood. The second man then offered her a drink with a straw in it, and she accepted.


    Again the image changed. Martigan was beginning to get used to it by now.

    Martigan's vantage point was now high above a snowy plain. Far below, an army of black-clad human warriors battled against a horde of pale wraithlike beings. In command of the humans, curiously, was a golden-haired child--or was it a dwarf? He could not tell at this distance.

    Overhead, three fire-breathing dragons swooped down upon the army of the white wraiths, burning a swathe of devastation among their foes.

    Each dragon had three riders. One of them in particular caught Martigan's attention: a pale-skinned girl-rider, who was clearly a wraith herself.


    Another shift occurred. Martigan wanted desperately to stop, to pause to examine each individual scene. But he knew that to do so would mean his own loss in some unfathomable new world.

    Now he was deep in the heart of a petrified forest, watching some secret work at a mighty forge. This was no ordinary smithy, however: the workers here were as skilled with magic as they were with metal and wheels.

    The head blacksmith, who had a pronounced limp, presided over the making of three magical talismans: a wizard's staff, a blacksmith's hammer, and a shepherd's crook. These he took once they were complete, and buried them in the earth, beneath a green crystalline marker. This act greatly mystified Martigan, who admired the beauty of all three objects.

    Yet the blacksmith had no sooner done this than he began his work again, making even stranger and more wondrous objects.

    This time he created four glowing crystals. Three of them were sharp, red, and spiky. These he placed within outer egg-shaped shells of gray rock. The fourth crystal was green, and it was egg-shaped of its own nature. All four, however, he handled with the utmost care, as if afraid to touch them.

    Once again he buried the fruits of his labors--this time in an elaborate triangular sarcophagus, whose lid bore the carven image of a curiously formed being. At the head of the tomb, on the side of the sarcophagus, the smith carved the word WABEWALKER.

    Years passed. The smith and his people left the land, and the shrine of the sarcophagus lay forgotten. Later, new men moved into the area, who understood but dimly the original purpose of the tomb.

    One of them, a merchant by trade, had the courage at last to enter the shrine and open the tomb. He took the green crystal, prizing it as a thing of great worth and beauty. But the three other crystals, which looked like valueless rocks, he left slumbering.

    He made a sizable fortune from the sale of this crystal. Thinking to honor his deceased benefactor, he commissioned alterations to the tomb. The image of the dead being was scraped off the carven lid of the sarcophagus, and in its place was erected a sandstone statue, representing the latecomers' three-dimensional impression of what had been figured there before in relief.

    But, half-effaced on the side of the tomb, the word WABEWALKER could still be faintly read.


    Now, with the next shift, Martigan saw something that puzzled him even more.

    He was in a house, that was certain--though the form of the walls, the adornments, and even the furniture was all utterly strange. For the benefit of the audience, however, I might as well say that it resembled a suburban house of 1950s America. New England, to be precise.

    Seated on a couch were a man and a woman, holding hands. The man had brown hair; the woman was a green-eyed redhead. They were entertaining a visitor: a silver-haired gentleman in a black suit. Around his neck was tied a curious bow-shaped cravat, whose messy knot revealed that the owner wore it little. (It was nonetheless reverently cared for, though Martigan did not know that.)

    Strangely, the silver-haired man seemed to be aware that he himself was in the domain of Dreams.

    At least, Martigan concluded, it was either that, or he was a sorcerer of some sort. He was entreating the red-haired woman to come with him, to someplace--or sometime?--that he called Ancient Roum. As he spoke, the man pointed out the window of the house--glass windows, Martigan thought, they must be a rich people here--at a boxy blue monolith covered with writing in a strange alphabet.

    But whenever Martigan looked sidelong at the old gentleman out of the corner of his eye, his appearance seemed to change wildly--young and old, male and female, black and white.


    And now Martigan was again in someplace new: another forge. But this one was located not in the dead heart of a Petrified Forest. Rather, it stood atop a high mountain, with a beautiful view of the sea-coast far below to the west.

    Here a pair of blacksmiths was working: a husband and wife, no doubt.

    As Martigan looked on, they forged a wondrous crown, of silver and gold and crystal intertwined. This, he thought, would be worthy only of the greatest of kings--or the boldest of heroes.

    It mystified him that these blacksmiths, too, promptly buried their great work as soon as they had finished it. This time the hiding place was behind the cornerstone of a drafty castle, whose building they also supervised.

    Afterward, they forged a second crown. This one was of pure gold, though its craftsmanship was coarse. They offered it to a visitor, a hero who had slain a terrible dragon. He took it up and became King, ruling in the newly built castle, as the smiths had known he would.

    But Martigan wondered why they had not offered the man the first crown, which in his view was the superior work.


    He saw infinite variety in infinite combinations, too many and too bewildering to list here in full.

    Once Martigan found himself in a stark white corridor, whose perfectly regular contours made him think it might have been built by the Elves. Here he witnessed a trio of humans frantically running down a hallway, evading pursuit as they went. They carried strange black crossbows, which shot arrows of light at the black-armored soldiers who opposed them.

    Two of the three were men, clad also in black armor but un-helmeted. One, he thought, looked oddly like a younger version of himself. The other was a dark-faced man of mature years--a man whom an Earthly audience would call African.

    The woman, or rather girl, was a blue-eyed redhead, about fourteen years of age. She wore only a tattered white skirt--perhaps the remnant of a dress. (Martigan shuddered to imagine how it had been damaged.) Of all the trio, her beams of light fired with the deadliest accuracy.

    His doppelganger spoke.

    "Come on, Leia, the Wookees will blast the whole station to bits soon!"

    The redhead, Leia, replied to him, but did not leave off firing.

    "What, the knight in shining armor is suddenly afraid to defend a maiden's honor?"

    The dark-haired young man replied: "I'm afraid we're gonna become cinders floating around in space if we don't get out of here!"

    She lowered her weapon, turned, and smiled at him. "Good point. Besides, I ought to tell you, you're a bit late to the party on that score."

    Martigan felt himself being yanked away even as they kissed.


    Another time, Martigan was in an underground cave. Plainly some sort of terrible weapon had been detonated in the vicinity only moments beforehand--smoldering corpses were scattered everywhere, and eldritch flames burned on the ground.

    In one corner were torn shreds of canvas--the remains of a tent. More corpses were strewn here. In the center of the ruined tent stood a strange golden altar of some sort, crowned with two winged angels in a kneeling position. The box-shaped altar was evidently portable, because it had two long poles attached for ease of transport. It had a lid, but the top was shut, and Martigan dared not look inside.

    Just outside the ruined tent, a golden-haired woman was tied hand and foot to two vertical poles, looking like a sacrifice for some dark jungle god. She wore a white nightgown, which had been severely rent by the explosion.

    On the ground, a flickering tendril of fire ignited a thin trail of black liquid.... which led straight to the woman's feet.

    Martigan wanted to cry a warning, but he knew that to do so would endanger his own passage through the Dream Land. He waited in an agony of helplessness. And then, mercifully, a savior appeared.

    The man had dark hair, cut short, and wore a battered brown hat.

    A uniformed thug brandished a fearsome-looking crossbow, but the hat-wearing fellow, who dodged the first volley of fire, pulled his own weapon out and shot his foe dead.

    Producing a knife, he cut the woman's bonds, and freed her just in time to avoid the onrushing fire.

    The duo kissed.

    "Oh, Indy! Thank God you're here," the woman said.

    "Glad I could make it," he replied. "Let's get out of here."

    She gestured toward the mysterious altar. No doubt, Martigan surmised, it had been the source of all this trouble. "What about the Ark?"

    He stopped in his tracks. "Are you game?" he asked her.

    "Hell yes! We've made it this far."

    The man grinned at her.... and Martigan faded out once more.


    Out of everything he witnessed, only one sight in particular frightened Martigan.

    He stood in a desert landscape, with twin suns overhead radiating intense heat. His eyes fell on a young man and a woman. The man, clad in a desert poncho, was a dead ringer for the one who resembled him in the earlier vision of the white corridors. Instead of a sword or a crossbow, at his side he wore only a curious baton. The woman, however, caught his attention.

    She was clad in a pale blue dress, studded with gold embroidery. But her dress was as nothing next to the delicate beauty of her face. She was an albino, with pale hair and pale skin, and purple eyes. In fact, he realized on closer inspection, she too was little more than a girl--not over sixteen years old at the most.

    The pair were both regarding, through viewfinders, a low mountain in the far distance--expectantly, it seemed.

    As he watched, a monstrous toadstool-shaped cloud erupted from the mountain. The light of the suns itself was dimmed momentarily at the onset of this horrendous, world-shaking fire. The Earth itself groaned with the pain of this violent outburst.

    Martigan looked at the albino girl, who had lowered her viewfinder, and he saw tears running down from her eyes.

    There was a moment of silence, in which nothing stirred except the obscene cloud rising toward heaven on the distant horizon.

    At last Martigan's younger doppelganger turned to the girl, and tried to speak.


    She swiveled to face him, turning her back on the bright mushroom of fire. Kira gritted her teeth.

    "Mother's dead, Clieg. Let's go.... we have a Republic to save."

    And with that, the two young witnesses to this mysterious tragedy turned to rejoin their older companions--who waited next to a curious self-propelled carriage, floating two feet off the ground.

    Martigan wondered what this scene meant. Who was Kira? What was her relationship with Clieg, the young man who so resembled himself? Where in the world was this strange desert land, where two suns in the sky baked the earth below?

    He had no time to ponder it. Even as he thought, the world around him changed once more.

    Yet somehow, deep down, Martigan suspected that he had been privileged to see a rare wonder--a world most people who passed along this road would only glimpse dimly, as if through a cracked mirror.


    Now he was in the great hall of a castle. It was fabulously appointed, but Martigan had no eyes for the furnishings.

    The Lord of the Castle stood in the room, gazing into a mirror on one wall. Like everyone else so far, he was apparently oblivious to Martigan's presence. He wore no crown and bore no scepter. But his majesty of carriage, his inner self-assurance, spoke of royalty, if not divinity.

    If it hadn't been for the absence of fangs, Martigan would have sworn that the Lord was a vampire. His skin was deathly pale, and his hair was black, like his garments. His outer cloak was pinned securely by a shining ruby.

    But his eyes were even darker than his clothing--the fathomless dark of the moonless night sky, and punctuated by faint points of starlight in the same fashion.

    In the mirror on the wall, the Lord's hair and clothing alike were brilliant white. His eyes, though, remained dark pools reflecting the midnight sky.

    To Martigan's shock, the Lord suddenly turned, as if he noticed him.

    And then, to his even greater surprise, he spoke:

    "You have reached your destination, Godfather."

    Mist swirled around Martigan, and he knew that he was about to arrive safely at Galladoorn. He feared momentarily for Cora, and his army--but he knew that he could do nothing for them until he returned to reality.

    He took one last look at the Lord, and his mirror.

    The Lord was unchanged--almost. His cloak clasp, which had been a ruby before, was now fashioned of gleaming silver. And in the mirror, the clasp borne by his white-clad reflection had instead become an emerald.

    A moment later, Martigan found himself on the familiar hill overlooking Galladoorn Castle. And Cora was throwing her arms around him, delighted by his safe arrival.
  12. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Oh, I see that in the last post, I mixed up the figures of the First Triumvirate by mistake. I obviously meant to say Pompey.
  13. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Cora's probable appearance in the finale of The World's End may be connected to this concept sketch by Joe Johnston:


    It shows the original design for Charal, the female villain in the 1985 TV movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.

    As I noted several pages (and months!) ago, the earliest known concept art for Willow by Jean "Moebius" Giraud dates from January and February 1986.


    Notice in particular Charal's pale, corpse-like skin; her vampiric black hair; her apparently missing nose; and her blank, black eye sockets. All of these are features I predicted for the various stages of Cora's shifting appearance in the likely climax of The World's End.

    Johnston has evidently sketched some peculiar white lines visible in the depths of Charal's eyes. Some might say these are merely deeply recessed eyes (so that she Looks Like Cesare, in TV Tropes argot).

    But, given Charal's seemingly missing nose here, I think we ought to go for a different theory. Namely, that those lines actually represent the holes at the back of the eye-sockets in a human skull, where the eyeball is wired up to the brain above.

    Check out one of the rear panels from Hans Memling's medieval altarpiece at Strasbourg for a good example of what I mean:


    It'd be very difficult to pull off such a look with makeup alone, unaided by CGI. But it might just be possible. Think of an improved version of Vincent Price's makeup at the end of The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

    Another concept art drawing for Ewoks: The Battle of Endor shows Charal with glowing yellow eyes, but her pallid complexion remains.


    The glowing yellow eyes were in fact what I thought most likely for Cora's ultimate appearance at the end of the third Willow film.

    EDIT: In case it isn't clear, when I wrote the description of Cora in the ending of The World's End, I very much had in mind the stereotypical image of a Japanese oni (demon).

    In fact, GL may have been drawing in this instance on a particular film: Onibaba, a Japanese suspense/horror film (with strong sexual overtones) from 1964.

    In that film, a horned oni mask is worn in succession by two characters: a samurai and a peasant woman. The wearing of the mask, in fact, is what ultimately brings about much of the tragedy in the film's ending.


    Given GL's love of Japanese movies, and his apparent fascination with dressing up Sorsha/Cora in the guise of various famous (male) villains of cinema, it's hardly surprising that he would pick up on this.
  14. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    And why, we might ask, was GL so apparently interested in dressing Sorsha/Cora up as a skeletal figure in the dénouement of the unmade Willow trilogy?


    "Physician, heal thyself."

    "Is that all you gotta say? What about my performance?"

    --Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (directed by Nicholas Meyer)

    "Yours was not a solution which would have occurred to a Vulcan mentality."

    "So you said at the time. Speaking of which, your protégé's first rate... a trifle emotional..."

    "She's half Romulan, Jim. The admixture makes her more volatile than... me, for example."

    --Star Trek II: The Undiscovered Country (written by Nicholas Meyer)


    "The answer is always Metropolis."

    One of the most striking images in Fritz Lang's seminal 1927 film is that of Death--embodied as a statue in the cathedral of Metropolis--coming to life, during a hallucination experienced by the protagonist Freder.


    This scene is intercut with the Robot Maria's seductive dance in the nightclub of Yoshiwara. She has become the Whore of Babylon incarnate, as the film itself plainly states. Thus, Death's awakening in Freder's vision symbolizes the impending doom hanging over the citizens of Metropolis.

    In fact, Death's scythe is so powerful that it leaves scratches on the film emulsion itself--breaking out of Lang's narrative into the real world.

    Interestingly, however, the actor behind the mask of Death is not listed in the film's credits.


    Or perhaps not.

    As that old magician Aleister Crowley would have said: "As above, so below."

    Here's a screenshot of the opening credits of Metropolis:


    Brigitte Helm plays Maria. (Duh!) But what about the other roles ("The Creative Man," "The Machine-Man," "Death," and "The Seven Deadly Sins") listed above, with no actors to their names?

    A close look at the scene with the "Creative Man" (the Tower of Babel flashback) reveals little of note about who his actor was. Likewise for the bit parts of the Seven Deadly Sins, who accompany Death in Freder's nightmare.


    But we know that Brigitte Helm herself played the "Machine-Man"... which is simply another name for the Robot Maria. Fritz Lang himself insisted that she personally had to don the robot costume.

    And the framing of Maria's dance sequence in Yoshiwara is explicitly designed to associate her with Death.

    As one nightclub patron says: "For her--all seven deadly sins!"

    By the end of the dance number, she's seated on a monstrous dragon throne, held up by seven squatting statues... the exact analogues of the Seven Deadly Sins statues, which have magically disappeared from their original places alongside Death in the cathedral.


    It seems almost impossible to escape the conclusion, therefore, that this is the "man" behind Death's mask:


    Take a bow, Brigitte.


    Well, I suppose that works too.

    Nice flute, by the way.
    Gobi-1 likes this.
  15. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Right. *blows nearly a month's worth of dust off thread*

    So, I've been thinking about the plot of the first WILLOW film, as it stood in this early version. And a couple of things have occurred to me.

    First of all, I've realized I probably misunderstood what happened when Madmartigan, Willow, and Meegosh were hiding out with Airk Thaughbaer and his men in the ruins of Galladoorn Castle.

    Once Madmartigan buried his foster-father, the old King, in the crypts beneath the ruined throne room, Sorsha probably led a small party of Orcs into the castle ruins, seeking Madmartigan. She'd have cropped off most of her hair as penance for letting Madmartigan escape, and would have vowed to Kael that she would find him or die.

    In fact, Sorsha actually does find him in the ruined castle. But some part of her is intrigued by the fact that Madmartigan had the insight to ask about her mysterious necklace earlier. When he reveals that he's going to Tir Asleen--her long-lost father's kingdom across the sea--she decides to let him go, and give him one day's head start before she and Kael follow in pursuit. They share a parting kiss before she leaves, and Sorsha goes off and tells a lie to her Orcs, saying that there's no sign of Madmartigan or Elora Danan anywhere in the ruins.

    With Sorsha leading her Orcs away from the castle, Madmartigan and Willow would leave Airk and his men, as well as Meegosh, behind. The old King's twelve best knights, however, who were freed from Bavmorda's petrifaction by Willow's magic, see in Madmartigan the daring and courage of their former monarch, and decide that he is worthy to be a King of Galladoorn. The twelve Knights of the Pacalcade (a term echoing the legendary paladins of Charlemagne) elect to follow him to the supposedly mythical island of Tir Asleen, home of the Elves in the farthest West.

    I should also correct another detail: I was probably wrong about both Airk and Meegosh attacking Sorsha after the end of the battle at Tir Asleen. Likewise, her father's inadvertent attack as Sorsha entered the outer gate of Tir Asleen would only have knocked out one or two of her teeth. However, Kael likely would have had Sorsha flogged for her failure to find Madmartigan. This would be revealed only later, aboard the Elf King's ship, when Sorsha stripped to the waist in order to calm Bavmorda's magical storm.

    More importantly, in the finale, the sorceress Fin Raziel would actually be the first to confront Bavmorda in the ritual chamber, in the topmost tower of Nockmaar castle. But just as Fin Raziel's benevolent magic had proved inferior to Bavmorda's dark might in their first duel, so too would it prove here.

    As Darth Vader said to Ben Kenobi: "Your powers are weak... Old man, you should never have come back."

    Or, as the Lord of the Nazgûl told Gandalf the White before the riven gates of Minas Tirith: "‘Old fool!’ he said. ‘Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’"

    So Bavmorda would incinerate Fin Raziel, even as Sauron in the backstory to The Lord of the Rings did to the Elf-king Gil-galad before the gates of Barad-dûr, in the final battle of the Second Age. From the doorway to the throne room, Sorsha and Willow Ufgood would watch in horror as their protectress was slain.

    It would be up to them now.

    Sorsha tells Willow to stay back, hidden out of sight, until she calls for him--at which point he can go into the chamber and seize Elora Danan, if she hasn't done so already. Then she enters the Ritual Chamber, alone.

    Bavmorda conjures to life seven stone statues, the gargoyle guardians of the Ritual Chamber, each one armed with obsidian swords. Sorsha tries to fight them with her own sword and dagger, but they are too many, and by virtue of their stony forms they are impervious to her blades. She manages to knock over and shatter one of them, but the remaining six catch on to that ploy and prevent Sorsha from doing it again.

    In succession, the statues would hit her in one eye, causing it to swell shut and resulting in a misshapen pupil; slice off the tip of one pointed Elf ear; break her nose for a second time; knock out many of her remaining teeth; slice off the tip of her left breast (forcing Sorsha to cauterize the wound with a torch); and stomp its heavy stone leg on one of her feet, leaving her with a permanent limp.

    Lastly, one of the statues would punch her "below the belt"--a wound that would, by implication, leave her permanently infertile. This would cause Sorsha to double over in pain and lose bladder control, spilling blood intermixed with urine upon the stone floor.

    (I should point out once again that this whole scene is rife with Freudian symbolism. Sorsha is essentially going in reverse through Freud's adolescent stages of psychosexual development--the implication being that she is reborn as a better person at the end of the film.)

    At this point, Sorsha, seeing no other way to clear a path through the gauntlet of murderous statues, suddenly gets an idea born of desperation.

    She climbs up on one of the pedestals recently vacated by a gargoyle. There, safe from their black blades and their stone fists, Sorsha deliberately relieves herself, loosing the waste in her bowels. She scoops up some of her excrement and throws it in Bavmorda's eye--distracting her mother and paralyzing her will long enough to halt the seven statues in their tracks.

    "NOW!" Sorsha yells to Willow.

    And she jumps down from the pedestal, knocking over two of the statues and shattering them as she does. She takes off at a run toward the sacrificial altar--

    --but Bavmorda has recovered herself, and before Sorsha can rescue Elora Danan, the four remaining statues seize her from behind.

    Bavmorda, furious, wipes the excrement from her face and forces it down her daughter's throat.

    The red-clad sorceress then takes one of the fallen obsidian blades... and slices Sorsha's face with it, blinding her own daughter in her good eye.

    Sorsha, now totally blind, screams in pain. Bavmorda raises the sword on high, and is about to kill her only child, when...

    "STOP!" Willow Ufgood yells, as bravely as he can.

    Bavmorda turns... and sees that Elora Danan is missing from the altar.

    "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE CHILD?" Bavmorda yells.

    Willow says the one thing which he knows (from Sorsha's words earlier) will upset Bavmorda beyond all else.

    "I've sent her where you will never dare follow... I've killed her."

    (This is a lie, of course. But even in the final film, Bavmorda mentions that merely killing Elora Danan is not enough to wipe out the threat to Bavmorda's power which she represents. Rather, Elora's spirit must be magically exiled from both Life and Death.)

    Bavmorda is enraged beyond anything she has ever felt. Transforming mid-stride into a terrifying dragon-beast, she leaps across the altar to attack Willow...

    ...and knocks over a bowl of young Elora's blood in the process, completing the ritual and sending Bavmorda into the exile which she had planned for the infant child.

    But of course, the ritual only works because Bavmorda is a fallen angel... and Elora's blood, the blood of Bavmorda's future successor in the Realm of the Dead, works equally well for exiling her angelic predecessor.

    The ending of the original 1985-86 version of WILLOW would be much the same as I described it in earlier posts--although Fin Raziel, obviously, would be missing from the celebration at the rebuilt Galladoorn Castle. So it would be Sorsha herself (or her father, the Elf King) who presented Willow Ufgood with his first book of magical knowledge.

    I should note, however, that the Elf King (who would have been alarmed earlier by his daughter's budding love for Madmartigan) would actually be relieved that Sorsha was made infertile in the final battle.... because he knows, as the two lovers do not, that Sorsha and Madmartigan are both his children, and thus half-siblings.
  16. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    More notes on the second film in the series, Trinity:

    On reaching the battlefield at the beginning of Trinity, Laif would find Martigan and Cora still in the process of turning to stone, but not yet completely petrified. They would talk to him and urge him to rescue Elora. (At this point, sixteen years after the first film, Martigan would be seen to have grown a mustache, though he was clean-shaven back in Willow. Being a half-Elf means late onset of beard growth, I suppose.)

    Willow Ufgood's gifts to Laif and Elora would be a cloak of invisibility, a coil of magical silver rope, and a winged wyvern, for aerial transportation back to the mainland. Since Elora's blue princess dress had been ruined in her battle with the golden female Minotaur statue, she would also receive a gray robe to wear.

    When asked by Elora if the Philosopher's Stone could help Martigan and Cora (as it had the petrified Knights of the Pacalcade in Willow), Willow the Mage would say that it likely could not. In fact, he would say, his Philosopher's Stone was already losing its efficacy--he could no longer use it for the most even elementary of tasks. Willow would note, however, that he was working on creating a new Philosopher's Stone, which could do the job, but it would take quite a long time before this was ready.

    Later in the film, upon fishing the two heroes out of the sea, Marazad (the Sultan's daughter) would present Laif and Elora with two magical Rings of Mastery.

    These rings (a set of four in total: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth) would let the wielder control one of the four classical elements. They would also prevent the wearer from being killed, but would still leave him or her vulnerable to eye injuries. However, the protection from death came with a string attached: being invisible to Death, the ring's wearers were also rendered visible in mirrors--in spite of any magical means of concealment.

    Marazad gives Laif and Elora the Rings of Air and Fire, respectively. She keeps one ring for herself; the fourth belongs to her brother, Marayar.

    During their journey over the mountains, Elora would tear up the bottom of her gray robe to create makeshift boots (her shoes having been lost in the ocean). They wouldn't work very well, however, and she would still end up with bleeding feet.

    After the blinded Elora defeats the Ice Witch (should we call her Brunhilde?), Laif would use the Ring of Air to summon a hippogriff, to transport them out of the mountains.

    In the Sultan's palace, Elora is branded on the forehead with the mark of the Sultan's slaves: a crescent moon, with its horns pointing upwards.

    When Laif reaches the Sultan's palace, and is sent into the watery pit of the Hydra below the throne room, Marazad throws Laif her Ring, and for her insolence is thrown into the pit herself. Her brother Marayar tosses his own Ring of Mastery to Marazad, before proceeding to attack his own father the Sultan. Thus, Laif and Marazad between them now have the Rings of Water and Earth. (Laif lost the Ring of Air during his earlier capture by Valerius.)

    Before she is taken away by Valerius' troops, Elora gives her Ring of Fire to Marazad for safekeeping.

    Laif rides an enchanted magic carpet to Castle Galladoorn, while Marayar and Marazad use mechanical wings instead. They two are attacked by a three-headed dragon, bred by Dark Elora. They kill the beast, but Marayar's wings are broken and he falls to his death. Marazad survives, but crashes to Earth with a broken leg.

    In the Castle throne room, Marazad fights a Basilisk. It petrifies her, but she remains alive, now as a living statue. The Basilisk spits in one of her eyes, blinding it, but she kills it nevertheless.

    Meanwhile, in the upper tower, Laif fights Valerius. Laif defeats him in sword combat: Valerius stole Laif's cloak of invisibility earlier, but he also stole Laif's Ring of Air, and so Laif uses his mirrored shield to win the fight.

    Valerius transforms into a werewolf. Laif cannot defeat him; were-Valerius breaks his sword, and bites off the last three fingers of his right hand. But before Valerius can kill Laif, Laif's animal friend, the talking dog who was once a prince, shows up. The dog sacrifices his life to give Laif enough time to bind Valerius with the silver rope, allowing him to kill the evil creature.

    Laif reclaims his ring from Valerius' gut, but he cuts off his own right hand at the wrist, in order to stop the spread of poison from the werewolf's jaws.

    In the topmost chamber of the tower, Dark Elora prepares to kill her opposite and take her place in the mortal realm. She first cuts off Elora's hair, then her ears; finally she cuts out her heart, and holds it before Elora's still-living face.

    Laif and Marazad enter the tower. Dark Elora tries to kill them with a magic spell, which fails (except insofar as it leaves a mark upon their left forearms). However, she manages to disable her foes physically with her ritual knife, by cutting Marazad's throat, spilling forth black blood, and castrating Laif.

    Before Dark Elora can finish the job, though, Elora absorbs her own evil side, sundered so long ago by Bavmorda--by eating her own still-beating heart.

    Elora regrows Laif's lost bits (though imperfectly), and gives him back a mustache (where once Laif had a full golden beard, which Valerius cut off earlier). She likewise restores Marazad to human form (though with white hair), and restores her blinded eye (now with a purple iris instead of its natural brown hue).

    In the finale, Marazad speaks via a mechanical bronze bird, whose language only Laif and Elora (who ate a desiccated white snake earlier in the film, allowing them to speak with animals) can understand. Marazad's thoughts are relayed to the bird via a black diamond jewel implanted in her forehead.

    At the end of Trinity, Martigan and Cora sail off to Tir Asleen, to take up the rule of Cora's now-deceased father, the Elf King. Martigan and Cora now have white hair, like Marazad, after being themselves un-petrified. Additionally, all of their injuries from Willow (save only infertility) were also healed when Elora un-petrified her foster parents. (Elora can't fully heal the injuries to Laif and Marazad, though, since these were brought about by Elora's own dark side.)
  17. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Some revised thoughts on the third film in the Willow trilogy, Worlds' End:

    Fifty years have passed since the events of Trinity. Laif, Elora and Marazad are all old now. Laif's hair and mustache have turned white, so that he looks like Count Dracula as described in the opening of Bram Stoker's novel. (Very few film Draculas have the mustache described by Stoker. GL is more well-read than most people think!)

    At the beginning of the film (or near it), we see the three witches or Fates who advised Laif and Elora early on in Trinity, and gave them the white snake to eat. (I said in an earlier post that they'd have given them a dragon's heart; eating a white snake is an equally mythological means of acquiring the power of talking to animals.)

    Like Richard Wagner's Norns at the beginning of Götterdämmerung, the three Fates disappear into nothingness, foreshadowing the impending devastation to come.

    When King Laif divides his kingdom, two of his daughters--Cordella and Coravis--protest, and are exiled, on pain of death should they ever return. A third, Corina, runs away to join them afterwards. As one last gift, Laif gives Cordella and Coravis each three valuable gemstones; Corina, however, leaves without any such gift.

    Three other daughters--Cortana, Corina's twin sister; Guneril; and Gunrai--accept Laif's judgment without question. Guneril and Gunrai do this because they think questioning their father is inherently wrong; Cortana does it for her own reasons.

    Laif's last three daughters--Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros--tell their father that they think his decision is unwise, but that they will abide by it nonetheless.

    The sisters' order of ages run from eldest to youngest thus: Skaltros; Matrandi; Corth; Guneril and Gunrai; Cordella; Coravis; Corina and Cortana. (This is a major correction to the siblings' ages as conjectured in my earlier posts.)

    Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros spend much of their days in the tower of Castle Galladoorn, weaving on a giant loom. They have great facility in magic, and have taught much of this art to Cortana.

    Meanwhile, hoping to soften their father's heart with magical aid, Corina, Cordella, and Coravis charter a ship to the Wizards' Island, off the eastern shore of the mainland. They pay for the ship with two of their six gemstones.

    On the Wizards' Island, Archmage Willow Ufgood mentions that he has now just finished making his new Philosopher's Stone, but that it will not help the trio in this matter. He does, however, show it to them; it is emerald in color.

    Instead, Willow recommends that the trio seek the End of the World in the Uttermost East. There, he says, they will find a magical pool, whose waters they need to help their father.

    Willow the Archmage takes Corina, Cordella, and Coravis on a tour of the vaults of the Emerald City. He shows them a crystal Sphere of Scrying, whose glass is now darkened and unusable; three giant hourglasses, the third of which is kept forever running with red sands; and a vault, constantly guarded, which contains the Wizards' deadliest weapon: the Great Scythe, which can kill even the Gods themselves.

    These treasures are guarded by a dedicated order of Wizards, who are sworn never to leave these secret chambers. Fin Raziel was one such, whose job long ago was to guard the vault housing the Scythe. She abandoned her post, however, and returned into the realm of ordinary Men.

    From these vaults Willow Ufgood takes three things, for the sisters to use on their journey eastward: a stoppered glass bottle containing a purple mist (actually a genie in mist form); a golden fish on a string, which acts as a compass to reach the End of the World; and a plain metal cup.

    On the way east, a storm destroys the sisters' ship. Cordella and Coravis reach the next island independently of Corina. Cordella and Coravis are attacked by harpies, whom they repel, but are badly wounded. They find black lotus flowers, and eat them in an attempt to quell their pain, but fall asleep instead.

    Corina continues on to the next island in a small rowboat, which survived when the larger ship was sunk. Here Corina finds the magical pool which turns ordinary objects into gold. She uses the pool to transfigure her sisters' four remaining gemstones, and the metal cup, into gold--with her own clothes serving as a net of sorts, allowing her to dip the objects in the pool entirely without harming herself.

    On the fourth and last island, the pool of water at the World's End is protected by a magical barrier: two giant serpent guardians who incinerate anyone passing beneath their gaze. Using her ability to speak to birds (inherited from her parents), Corina convinces a small finch to peck out the eyes of the guardians, and so manages to pass successfully.

    Meanwhile, in the Emerald City, the first of the three hourglasses, sealed ages ago, shatters suddenly.

    At the World's End, the barrier regenerates immediately after Corina passes through it, and the finch is incinerated when it tries to follow her.

    Corina realizes the pool here is apparently mere water. In despair she throws away the bottle of purple mist, and wishes she could see her father once more. At that point the Genie reveals himself, by letting Corina see her ailing father in the waters of the pool.

    Using the two last wishes of the Genie, Corina returns to the Island of the Lotus, and heals her sisters with water from the World's End, carried in the golden cup. Then the trio return to Castle Galladoorn, and heal Laif of his illness using the Grail. Laif immediately grows a full (white) beard, as he has not been able to do since Trinity. (The Genie, meanwhile, makes himself scarce, and dissipates upon the wind.)

    At this point Cortana launches a palace coup. She seizes her father, Elora, and Marazad, and hurls them into the castle dungeons. Here she starves them for a time, and then at last provides them food--laced with a poison, for which they must take an antidote daily, or die. (This is what Baron Harkonnen does to Thufir Hawat, the Atreides' Mentat, in the book version of Dune.)

    But the three sisters--Cordella, Coravis, and Corina--are publicly executed on Cortana's orders. She claims to be following her father's bidding, but many of the subjects in Galladoorn are horrified... as are Laif and his two wives.

    All of them have their eyes gouged out and their ears cut off before being executed. Cordella has her heart ripped out; Coravis has her throat slit; and Corina is stabbed in the gut. Their bodies are thrown into a refuse heap outside the city of Galladoorn, there to lie with dishonor.

    Guneril and Gunrai, overcome with remorse, release Laif, Elora, and Marazad from their dungeon cell. They also return three of the four Rings of Mastery (Earth, Water, and Fire), which Cortana had taken for herself. (Cortana keeps the fourth.) Additionally, they give back Laif's cloak of invisibility.

    Thanks to his bite from Valerius in Trinity, Laif is a werewolf; but his Ring allows him to control when and where he shapeshifts. Elora and Marazad also take on animal forms. In these guises they escape more easily from the castle, since Cortana cannot detect their presence mentally.

    Meanwhile, in Tir Asleen, Martigan and Cora hear the news of their grandchildren's executions, and raise a force of soldiers to investigate. (By this point, Martigan now has grown a full beard--black in color, thanks to the eternal youth found in Tir Asleen. Cora's hair, likewise, has turned brown once more.)

    Knowing time may be of the essence, they pass through the Door of Dreams, a subterranean gate which allows those who enter it to emerge anywhere in the world--even in a parallel universe. It requires great strength of will to arrive at one's originally intended destination.

    Meanwhile, in the Emerald City, the second hourglass shatters, as Archmage Willow Ufgood looks on.

    Few of Martigan's troops make it through the formidable barrier of the Door. Among those who do are Martigan himself, Cora, and a female Elf captain of their armies. However, they manage to raise a force of soldiers from the mainland domains (Land's End, the Sultan's kingdom, and Galladoorn itself) who are not loyal to the new queen. Each of these forces is led by a male Captain.

    There are also two mercenary knights from faraway lands: one whom we would call Chinese and the other African. Both of them are women in disguise (and lesbian lovers, in fact). The Chinese woman is passing as a boy, and the African woman normally keeps her helmet on.

    Upon hearing of Laif's escape, Cortana punishes Guneril and Gunrai, by transfiguring them into a bear and an eagle, and banishing them.

    Cortana declares herself Queen. Her first act is to go deep into the burial vaults beneath the throne room, searching out the crypt of an early Queen of Galladoorn, from the days before all the kingdom's monarchs had to be male.

    In this tomb Cortana finds what she had been looking for: two star sapphires, exact mirrors of Elora's own replacement eyes from Trinity, which allow their user to see the past and the future.

    Cortana (who, like Corina, has black hair, dark skin, and green eyes) does not hesitate to gouge out her own eyes to acquire this power for herself.

    Laif, Elora, and Marazad escape from the walled city of Galladoorn, and reach Martigan and Cora's armies outside. Reclaiming the bodies of their three dead children, they light a funeral pyre. On this pyre they place the four golden gemstones, and the sisters' three swords--also passed on by Guneril and Gunrai. (However, Cortana has kept the Grail for herself.) Finally, as the fire blazes, the trio of grieving parents jump on the fire themselves. The combination of the four Elements, united in mastery and submission at once, induces a trance-like state.

    They find themselves outside a tavern--the Worlds' End, its sign proclaims--in a driving snowstorm. Inside are many guests from many different worlds, not all of them Lucasfilm's. One in particular is a Jedi from the Star Wars galaxy--probably Luke Skywalker, now bearded (and rather older than in Return of the Jedi).

    Hearing of their plight, Luke leads them into the stone-built tavern basement, where he used a magic wand made of elder wood to open a hidden doorway in the wall, leading into the Realm of the Dead.

    The Realm of the Dead is a bleak desert land under a starless deep blue sky, lit only by a cold white sun. One one side of a river, the terrain is increasingly rocky as one turns away from the water; this direction leads to the Earthly mouth of the Underworld, in the Skull Cave on the Wizards' Island as seen in Trinity. Here dead souls who are not yet ready to find peace wander, screaming in pain and torment.

    The trio cross the River Styx, paying the ferryman with Elora's two eyes and Marazad's talking bird. They then reach the door of an immense Egyptian-style pyramid (flanked by two others in the background). Black and featureless saved for a carven skull, the door will not open unless asked the right question.

    Laif asks, "Whom do you serve?" The door replies, "The oldest king," and opens.

    Inside the pyramid, Giger-esque passages lead ever downward and downward. At last they reach the door of the Erlking's throne room. This is opened by a simple request: "Open, please."

    The Erlking's throne is located on an island, in the midst of an immense lake of glowing scarlet water. This lake is crossed by a crystalline bridge, which gives a view of the waves below. Faces appear in the water from time to time, and voices echo up from it. It is the Sea of Souls, the repository of the peaceful Dead. Each of the trio sees their own reflection in the waters as it stood in the beginning of Trinity, without all the wounds and scars accumulated during that adventure.

    The Erlking has bone-white skin, long hair and beard, golden eyes, and two large elk antlers. His left arm is a matching counterpart of Laif's prosthetic silver right hand. From beneath his robes two bony fleshless legs reveal that he has not stirred from his throne in ages upon uncounted ages.

    At his left hand stands a beautiful woman, tall and blonde, with icy blue eyes, fair and perilous to look upon: "la Belle Dame sans Merci." Like Marazad, she too speaks using the voice of a bird, in this case the croaking of a raven. She is the Prosecutrix, the advocate of Punishment before the Judge of the Dead.

    But at the Erlking's right hand is a terrifying skeletal figure, whose corpse-like skin is stretched taut over its underlying bones: the Intercessor. The angel whose duty this was long ago abandoned her post, and went into the world of Men, where she was corrupted with the desire for power: Bavmorda.

    To avoid deserting her post entirely, Bavmorda divided her own self into two parts, and, leaving one side in the Realm of the Dead, she descended upon the world of the living. But having left much of her goodness behind, she became evil once incarnated in the mortal world.

    Laif, Elora, and Marazad challenge the Erlking to yield up their daughters' lives. The Erlking responds that they must give up their own lives in exchange--and that they have already done so, leaving them nothing to bargain with. The trio remind him that their Rings will save them from the fire, and that they can return to the Land of the Living should they so desire.

    The Erlking argues that their challenge is not valid, since they will die on the morrow, having no antidote to Cortana's poison. Laif responds that "Must not all men die one day, my Lord?" The Erlking concedes.

    He sets them what he thinks is an impossible task: "Make me cry."

    Laif tells the Erlking to look in the Sea of Souls at his feet.

    The Erlking does, and sees his own reflection--a near carbon copy of Laif himself. For even Death was once a man among men.

    He sheds a single tear... and stands up, hoping to get a better look. But his atrophied legs break beneath him, sending him crashing to the floor.

    The Erlking tells Laif that he has won what he sought--and inherited a greater burden than he ever dared suspect. Laif himself will become the new Erlking; Marazad will replace the old Prosecutrix; and Elora will fulfill Bavmorda's function.

    The Erlking, the Intercessor and the Prosecutrix begin to fade away... and Marazad and Elora begin to change physically. Marazad becomes physically identical to the Prosecutrix... except that one side of her face is hideously scarred, and the corresponding eye is blind. The black raven of the old Prosecutrix now turns white in color.

    Elora, meanwhile, has her blue hair fall out; yellow eyes with rectangular goat-like pupils fill her once empty sockets; and two ribbed horns sprout from her forehead. She now assumes the mantle of the Intercessor.

    Laif mounts the throne of the Erlking... and two antlers sprout from his forehead, though his hair and beard, white before, now turn golden.

    In the Emerald City, the third and last hourglass shatters, spilling red sand everywhere. Willow Ufgood enters the vault housing the Great Scythe... and finds it missing. The two guards have been slain, their entire bodies turned red by some magical curse.

    Willow the Archmage takes up the emerald Philosopher's Stone from its resting place, undisturbed, in the vault. He goes to the great balcony overlooking the court of the Emerald City, and tells all the Mages that they must leave, or risk being killed.

    Before the gates of Galladoorn city, the funeral pyre dies down. Laif, Elora, and Marazad are burnt to ashes. However, Cordella, Coravis, and Corina now spring up, revived. Their ears have regrown with points; their heads are hairless; and their flesh is unearthly white.

    All three still lack eyes, however. Cordella and Coravis take up the four golden spheres from the pyre, and use them for new eyes; these work largely like their original eyes. Corina, though, takes up Elora's two sapphire eyes, which allow their wielder to see the past and the future.

    Laif's silver right arm, magically unburnt by the funeral pyre, is not yet taken up. But Marazad's bronze speaking bird, not needed by the resurrected Coravis, turns into a flesh-and-blood phoenix, and flies off into the night sky.

    As the three sisters emerge from the pyre, Martigan looks around and notices that Cora has gone missing during the interval.

    Inside Castle Galladoorn, Cora takes off Laif's cloak of darkness, and reveals her full-body hauberk of mail worn beneath it. She finds Cortana seated on her throne, ready to confront her grandmother.

    Cora raises her sword. But Cortana's new sapphire eyes sparkle with malice. With a wave of her hand, her black hair and dark skin both turn deathly white. She has channeled, and in turn been consumed by, the spirit of Bavmorda.

    Cortana/Bavmorda commands "Sorsha" to drop her sword. When Cora refuses, Bavmorda raises her arm, and Cora's right arm explodes. As Cora doubles over in pain, Bavmorda has her daughter/grandmother taken to the castle dungeons.

    In the courtyard of Castle Galladoorn stands a set of three trees. These trees are sacred to the Kings of Galladoorn. The current trees are alders, but they were killed during the dragon's attack on the castle in the original Willow. King Martigan did not know what kind of tree should replace it, so he let the dead trees remain in the courtyard.

    Bavmorda has them cut down to provide fuel for her impending warfare operations. (This is a combined nod to the White Tree of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings, that tree's ancestor in Númenor as described in The Silmarillion, and the World Ash Tree cut down by Wotan in Wagner's Götterdämmerung.)

    Afterward, Bavmorda spends the night in the castle armory, where she ponders how to make a better weapon out of the Great Scythe. She seeks advice from her elder sisters: Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros. They tell her to shatter the crystalline blade of the scythe, and shape the fragments into a weapon of her own.

    This she does, creating the Spear of Death. To temper the still-hot crystal after fusing its shards together, the four sisters shed their blood into a pail of water, and use this mixture to quench the heat of the new-forged spear. (This is an allusion to a scene in Moby-Dick where Captain Ahab and the Pequod's three harpooners do just this while forging a harpoon to kill the White Whale.)

    The dawn comes, and as the besieging armies (now committed to war upon Galladoorn) wait, the gates of Galladoorn city open.

    Out comes Sorsha.

    Her brown hair is cropped close to her head. Her missing right arm has not been replaced; rather she wields a sword in her left hand. A golden sun is graven on her forehead in molten gold, poured into a cicatrix. Her teeth (which grew back in full in Trinity) have all been replaced by crystalline ones.

    She wears little more than a loincloth. Her nipples are pierced with a chain, upon which hangs a ring. Bavmorda in her might has now graduated to making Rings of Mastery herself. (Think of Saruman's boast to Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: "For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-Maker, Saruman of Many Colours!")

    Sorsha, clearly brainwashed, asks for a challenger from the armies of her foes. Only Martigan accepts.

    Martigan severs the tip of one of her pointed Elf ears; in response, Sorsha slices Martigan's cheek. Then he yanks the chain and its Ring from her, causing her nipples to bleed; in response, Sorsha cuts off Martigan's right hand. Martigan finally cuts off Sorsha's nose. This last injury reminds Sorsha of the events in tavern, back in the original Willow... and Cora remembers who she is, and whom she's fighting.

    There's no time to celebrate, though. The gates of Galladoorn city open again, and a host of soldiers loyal to Bavmorda push forth. Martigan takes up Laif's prosthetic right hand from the funeral pyre, and battle is joined.

    Many soldiers die on both sides, but eventually the forces of good penetrate the city--aided by Guneril and Gunrai, who have brought with them a host of eagles and bears. Once inside the city walls, they find a surprise: terrible beasts bred and hidden away by Bavmorda long ago, now guarding the entrance to the Castle. One is a ravenous werewolf, and the other is a giant serpent.

    Meegosh, the nigh-immortal Nelwyn warrior (remember him?), defeats the werewolf fairly easily, though it kills one of his fellow Nelwyns who are in the battle. Pan the forest satyr, meanwhile, takes on the serpent, and defeats it by breaking its lower jaw with his hooves; however, he is mortally wounded in the battle.

    Now Bavmorda, confident in her victory thanks to her eyes that see past and future, unleashes her third monster: a seven-headed fire-breathing dragon.

    Cora remembers hearing her mother speak of this beast: the Dragon of Death. It craves souls, and detects them by sensing a person's two eyes.

    Cora tells Martigan that they should be able to distract the beast by confusing it: have one person carry a second set of human eyes, and the other can take on the Dragon. She tells him to take the eyes from the body of the dead Nelwyn warrior.

    What Cora doesn't tell him is that the Dragon only likes feasting on the souls of the living.

    While Martigan's back is turned, Cora gouges out her own two eyes. She gives them to a stunned Martigan, who nonetheless realizes that it had to be done. Working together, with Martigan holding Cora's eyes, they cut off six of the beast's heads.

    Before they can kill it, though, the Dragon turns full upon Cora. She realizes that this head, at least, can see perfectly well with normal sight... and then it blasts her full in the face with a burst of dragon fire. Cora, burned black and hairless, falls dying to the ground. Martigan kills the beast, and runs to her side.

    Behind him, the gates of Castle Galladoorn open, and Bavmorda emerges. She carries the Spear of Death in her right hand, and the Grail, full of wine, in her left.

    Martigan turns and rises to face her, wrath engraved in the lines of his face. Bavmorda speaks. To his surprise, she offers to let him rule by her side--if he will abandon his friends and defend her from their armies. Martigan naturally refuses.

    Bavmorda chides him. "Such a pity. You're just like Sorsha. Your sister never was one to be sensible and listen to her mother." Martigan stands for a moment, stunned by the import of these words... and Bavmorda uses the opening to stab him in the groin with the Spear of Death, castrating him.

    As Martigan lies on the ground in agony, Bavmorda speaks about the future she has seen. She will reign gloriously over the kingdom of Galladoorn, and then the world itself. She is confident, for has she not seen it with her new eyes?

    But Bavmorda has forgotten that others may see the future as well... and act accordingly to influence it.

    And the three sisters, weaving on their loom in the Castle's topmost tower, did not like what Bavmorda was planning for the world.

    Bavmorda's gloating is interrupted by the stroke of a sword, which severs her right hand--sundering her from Spear and Ring alike. Cora, burned all over and mortally wounded but not yet dead, speaks a few last contempt-ridden words to her mother, and then cuts off her head.

    Cora, too, falls over. Martigan, in great pain, crawls over to her, to hold her as she dies. When she does, her body turns to stone.

    Meanwhile, the Ring of Fire on Bavmorda's severed right hand has begun to glow.

    Martigan is roused from his grief at Cora's death by the words of Willow Ufgood. The Archmage has at last arrived. He tells everyone that they must leave immediately: Bavmorda has turned the Ring into a doomsday device, designed to destroy the whole world if she should ever perish.

    Martigan protests, but Willow tells him that he must go, or die himself. Willow will work to contain the damage from the device, but he needs to be alone to do so. Martigan is dragged from the castle courtyard by his friends and captains.

    Before he works his last magic, Willow tries to restore Guneril and Gunrai to human forms, using his emerald Philosopher's Stone. He succeeds only in turning them from a bear and an eagle into a badger and a fox. They too depart at his command. To Coravis, Cordella, and Corina, Willow entrusts his old red Philosopher's Stone, which he bids them to keep in memory of him.

    Finally, Willow Ufgood smashes his own green stone.

    He begins to transform into a willow tree, taking root in the courtyard of Galladoorn Castle.... a destiny predicted long ago by his very name.

    High in the topmost tower, the three sisters, Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros, have finished their weaving: magical garments made of feathers, which will allow them to fly away from the impending devastation in the form of swans.

    After evacuating the Castle and the now-ruined City, the heroes watch and wait.

    A great mushroom cloud, giving off a terrifying red and golden light, rises from the center of the Castle courtyard.

    In the Realm of the Dead, Cora and Bavmorda stand before the Erlking and await his judgment.

    Bavmorda is robed in white, and Cora wears blue. Both of them look identical to the naked eye--long white hair, unearthly white skin, sapphire eyes. But in the reflection of the Sea of Souls, Bavmorda is dressed in sinister black, while Cora is naked, and bears all the scars of the recent battle.

    The Erlking deems that Bavmorda will be banished from Earth, and set in the night sky, as an inhospitable body which will kill all wayfarers there, rather than corrupt them with her evil: the planet Venus, the Morning Star.

    Even as he speaks, Bavmorda vanishes from his throne room deep within the Realm of the Dead.

    Cora's crimes were lesser, but she is still to undergo a penance of sorts--not yet decided.

    Meanwhile, the Erlking decrees that, since Men have traversed the bounds of the Earth to the Uttermost East and the Farthest West, they must be given new lands to explore, or else stagnate in boredom and risk warfare against themselves. Thus, as Cora looks on, the world (reflected in the Sea of Souls) changes shape. Where once was a flat, roughly circular expanse, now a spherical body emerges, taking the form of Earth as we know it today.

    (This is clearly drawn from the Downfall of Numenor as described in The Silmarillion.)

    Not only that, however--anyone who did not visit Tir Asleen or the eastern isles before their destruction (for such it is) will not remember that the Earth was ever flat at all.

    Finally, the Erlking says that he has decided what Cora's penance is to be...

    As the heroes watch, the mushroom cloud stops expanding. Then it begins to contract, and finally collapses in on itself. The buildings of Galladoorn Castle are ruined and thrown down, but there is little else in the way of devastation. (No radiation, for instance.) Birds begin to sing as Martigan and the others enter the ruined castle.

    Martigan kneels once more by Cora's stone corpse.

    Bavmorda's body, however, has vanished entirely--except for her two eyes, the Stones of Seeing, which are left lying upon the ground. These ever after show only a world consumed by fire, unless the user has great strength of will. (This is a nod to the Palantír clutched by the suicidal Denethor in the book version of The Lord of the Rings.)

    Meanwhile, Corina takes Willow's red Philosopher's Stone and tries using it on her sisters' hair. Cordella's hair grows back in black, but Coravis's comes in white. Corina then heals her own hair, and it too comes in black. As this happens, a circular mark appears on Corina's forehead; two circular marks appear on Coravis's brow; and two goat-like horns (like those of the late Pan) sprout from Cordella's forehead.

    Corina then uses the red Stone on Guneril and Gunrai, who turn into a harpy and a mermaid (who immediately jumps in the river surrounding the Castle walls).

    Lastly, Corina uses the Stone on Cora's stone body. This turns her stone form back into physical flesh. She remains dead, but now her flesh is the eerie white of an albino, like the skin of the three resurrected sisters.

    At this point, the phoenix born from the sisters' funeral pyre, created out of Marazad's bronze bird, returns. It sheds two tears into Cora's empty eye sockets... and Cora wakes up.

    Bald, eyeless, noseless, with crystal teeth and one pointed ear cropped, a golden sun etched in liquid gold in the flesh of her forehead, Cora is nonetheless alive again. She hugs Martigan, glad beyond words to have come back from death.

    Martigan explains as best he can about how Bavmorda castrated him. Cora, however, proceeds to take the Grail--now a melted lump of gold--and touches it to the Philosopher's Stone.

    In her hands, the lump of gold reshapes itself into a prosthetic phallus--which, like Martigan's old golden right arm, works perfectly as a functional prosthesis (in every way but fertility). When Cora attaches it to Martigan, it takes root--and as it does, his dark hair turns blonde, and his beard becomes red in color. (This makes him look like the standard descriptions of Thor in Norse mythology.)

    Martigan surveys the ruin of his old kingdom with a sigh. Cora reminds him that they already rebuilt the Castle once; they can do it again. He agrees that this is the right thing to do. The two lovers will once again be King and Queen in Galladoorn--if their subjects will have them back. A loud cry of assent from the bystanders follows this statement.

    As they watch, the sun sinks below the horizon. The new Evening Star appears in the sky... and then the Moon, red in color throughout the Willow trilogy, now appears white in the sky. It is a sign from the Erlking of the newfound balance and harmony in the universe, a state of affairs sustainable only through change and renewal.

    In the ruined walls of the courtyard of Castle Galladoorn, below the new light of the white moon as filtered through the branches of a new-grown willow tree, Martigan and Cora share a kiss.

    Actually, Worlds' End may not have been the right title for this film. Perhaps something like Evenfall would work better. In fact, "evenfall" is an old word for "twilight" ... as in the "twilight of the Gods," or in Wagner's German coinage, Götterdämmerung.
  18. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    I forgot to mention that at the end of Worlds' End (or Evenfall?),the three sisters, Corth, Matrandi, and Skaltros, would take up the place of the old Three Fates in their accustomed cavern--essentially replacing them, even as Morpheus is replaced by Daniel, the new Dream of the Endless, in Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic.
  19. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Additionally, in keeping with the overall Fisher King/"wound that will not heal" theme apparent with the characters of Martigan and Cora, when Cora was brought back from the dead in the finale of Worlds' End, her nipples (injured earlier in the battle) would probably bleed continually (presumably with normal red blood... the same color as the Philosopher's Stone).

    This is a dark reflection of the fertility symbolism in the tale of Olwen the Giant's Daughter, from the Welsh Mabinogion (a medieval collection of Arthurian stories). The beautiful Olwen, a heroine who leaves white flowers wherever she walks, was a big inspiration for Lúthien Tinúviel, who also does this, in JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion.
  20. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    On the night before the great battle in Worlds' End, along with the fifth Ring of Mastery and the crystalline Spear of Death, Bavmorda likely created a third nefarious device in her laboratory in Castle Galladoorn. This would have been a drugged wine which reduced those who drank it to obedient slaves, akin to the Black Sleep of Kali in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

    (Think also of the wicked stepmother, the Evil Queen, brewing her poison apple in the 1937 Disney animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.)

    Bavmorda would have served this wine to Cora, now a prisoner in the castle dungeons, to brainwash her into unquestioning servitude. This is what would erase Sorsha's memory of Martigan. However, Bavmorda would also have served the drugged wine in the golden Grail cup--which would have restored Sorsha's fertility as a side effect.

    Knowing that Sorsha's loyalties might waver again, as they had in the past, Bavmorda no doubt wanted to use her daughter to breed potential replacements for Sorsha's own role, as the chief captain to the Lady of Darkness. Accordingly, it would be implied that Bavmorda had Sorsha lie with as many captains of her armies as would be feasible in one night.

    The result, in the film's finale, would have been Cora revealing to Martigan that she was pregnant--thus bearing him children (albeit not his) after his own castration.
  21. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Small note here: I said earlier that in the original version of Willow, both Madmartigan and Sorsha would have been flogged at various points by Kael's soldiers--Madmartigan as a captive, and Sorsha as punishment for allowing Madmartigan to escape.

    I should add that the whip in question was likely going to be a strange fantastical thing, whose cords were made of the dried husks of scorpions. Their sharp claws and venomed tails would sear the backs of the whip's victims more painfully than any ordinary Earth cat-o'-nine-tails.

    This idea comes from Robert E. Howard's Conan story "Xuthal of the Dusk." However, it also shows up in Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic series, where the Furies use such a whip on Morpheus. (It likewise recurred quite recently in Gaiman's The Sandman: Overture prequel mini-series, where a similar whip is used on Morpheus's onetime beloved, the star-lady Alianora.)
  22. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    This may seem cryptic, but it's worth saying...

    As a great man once said: 'We shall say "Ni" again to you if you do not appease us.'

    Only, instead of saying 'Ni,' I will reveal the truth about Internal Transfer... unless the secret weapons are released before this coming Thursday.

    You know who you are.
  23. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    -- Manny Calavera, Grim Fandango, 1998 (designed by Tim Schafer)

    So.... that last post may have been a bit hyperbolic. Let me explain more clearly what I mean.

    Recently I saw a test reel for Internal Transfer, an unreleased 1985 animated film produced by French artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud (who also did the early concept art for Willow -- but of course you knew that already).

    Here are some screen captures:






    The first image, which shows the top of a pyramid-shaped building, looks intriguingly like JRR Tolkien's Orthanc.

    ...Hey, wait a minute.
    – Bill Warren, “On the Moebius Strip” [interview with Jean Giraud], Comics Scene Quarterly, vol. 3, series 14 (1988)

    Hmm. Disneyland? That's an interesting coincidence.

    ...or is it?



    Above are two screenshots from Brian Moriarty's unreleased 1993 version of LucasArts' graphic adventure game The DIG, made in collaboration with Steven Spielberg. Neither image was used in the game as released in 1995.

    Amazingly enough, the composition in both of these images appears to be homaging shots seen above from Moebius' unreleased movie Internal Transfer.

    Cancellations within cancellations... or wheels within wheels?
    -- Joystick #40 (July/August 1993), preview of Brian Moriarty's The DIG (translated from French by me)

    -- Summary by Kosta Andreadis of Steven Spielberg's original Amazing Stories idea which birthed The DIG

    If that's not strange enough... imagine what might happen if the last two pictures I've posted from Internal Transfer were to be cleaned up and given altered colors (red for blue, black for white, etc).

    A palette swap, so to speak.


    Simply put, you'd get something that's uncannily like this Moebius concept drawing of Bavmorda from Willow.

    Just precisely what was that earlier project on which Jean Giraud collaborated with George Lucas?

    "Who knows? in a thousand years, even you may be worth something!"
    -- Belloq, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981 (directed by Steven Spielberg)

    To guess from the narration of the Internal Transfer test reel, the film's opening line was to have been: "Once, within another dimension..."

    That sounds familiar somehow...



    You don't suppose...

    ...What if Internal Transfer was actually a *code name* for an animated movie which Jean Giraud worked on at Lucasfilm... ....before he did designs for the live-action feature film Willow?

    You know, rather like how George Lucas took the name of the Dashiell Hammett novel (Red Harvest) which inspired Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, and slightly altered it to create --


    Blondie: You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend... ...those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.​

    Tuco: Where?​

    Blondie: Here.​

    Tuco: There's no name on it!​

    Blondie: There's no name here, either. (indicates stone) You see, that's what Bill Carson told me: "There's a grave marked 'unknown', right beside Arch Stanton."​

    -- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 1966 (directed by Sergio Leone)
  24. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    One other thing that occurs to me -- in the original animated version of Willow, King Kael probably had the power to freeze people in place with a glare from his baleful eyes. Rather like the villainous dragon Glaurung in Tolkien's The Silmarillion, who had a precisely similar power which he used to bring ruin upon Turin Turambar and his sister Nienor.
  25. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2007
    Food for thought: if I'm right about Internal Transfer being actually a codename for an unreleased project which Moebius worked on with George Lucas... how many other such secret projects have been cooked up at Skywalker Ranch over the years?