Episode 073 – Origin of the Sorceress

In which I court controversy by not particularly caring about the Sorceress.

The episode starts with a sales pitch from Man-at-Arms concerning Stridor, his new robot horse, now available in Toys R Us at the very reasonable price of £14.99. Following this, a burning wheel of fire appears in the sky above the Palace, firing meteors down into the courtyard. Once this has been attended to, the Sorceress summons He-Man and Stridor to Castle Grayskull, where she explains that the meteors were caused by Morgoth the Terrible. Many years ago, Morgoth was a sorcerer who acquired more and more powers, eventually becoming immortal and growing into a giant, but eventually he was imprisoned by the Ancients.

Origin 1
He-Man: “Get out of my head, Sorceress.”

He-Man suggests that maybe Morgoth is back, and earns himself a gold star for his powers of deduction. The Sorceress then decides that she, He-Man and Stridor must journey to the Dark Mountain, for which she uses a crystal that allows her to maintain her true form outside Grayskull. Once at the Dark Mountain, the Sorceress says that Morgoth will appear at dawn, and decides to pass the time until then by telling He-Man how she became the Sorceress. Settle down and pay attention, because this might well be a question in your Eternian History GCSEs.

A long time ago, before she was half-woman, half-falcon, and when she was still capable of being useful, the Sorceress was called Teela-Na. With the aid of some space pirates, Morgoth quickly defeated Teela-Na’s village, but on the advice of a wise old man, Teela-Na headed out to the old castle in the wastelands. The castle, of course, was Grayskull, and Teela-Na entered despite a warning that going inside would leave her forever altered.

Origin 2
Teela-Na: “That’s a lovely chair. I could sit up there making pseudo-profound statements all day.”

Inside, Teela-Na found an old woman called Kodak Ungol, with the same crazy feathers and bird head that our Sorceress now has. Kodak Ungol offered Teela-Na all the power she needed to defend her village, but on the condition that she become the new Sorceress of Grayskull, and defend the secrets of the castle. Teela-Na accepted, became the Sorceress, and defeated the space pirates and Morgoth.

Once this exciting story has been recounted, He-Man stifles a yawn and says what a lucky day for Eternia that was. He even goes so far as to say that he can’t count the times he’s needed the Sorceress, which I can only assume is his idea of a joke, because I can’t think of a single occasion on which the Sorceress has even approached being useful.

And so to the final showdown: Morgoth pops his head through the wheel of fire in the sky and shouts ineffectual insults down at He-Man, Stridor and the Sorceress, as well as dropping a gemstone into the ground. The Sorceress reveals that to defeat Morgoth, the gemstone must be destroyed, so He-Man does that very thing, sounding uncommonly cross about it.

Origin 3
Morgoth: “I imagine Johnny Cash has something to say about this.”

With Morgoth defeated, there’s just enough time in the episode for a bizarre closing section in which the Sorceress explains that though Stridor may have been a robot when he went up against Morgoth, now he is a living creature, even though there is no reason for this whatsoever. Man-at-Arms therefore decides to set Stridor free. Having thus successfully interfered in Man-at-Arms’ lab work, the Sorceress returns to Grayskull, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms happily witter to each other about how special the Sorceress is.


In today’s adventure…

He-Man’s take-home message this week is that we must all do whatever we can to help other people, as demonstrated by the Sorceress taking on the role of guardian of Grayskull in order to help her village. This seems reasonable enough.


Character checklist

Well, let’s see. There’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Teela-Na, the wise old man, Kodak Ungol, Morgoth and the space pirates. If we must, we can also count Stridor.

Origin 4
The Sorceress: “Hey guys, I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t you release the weirdo robot horse into the wild?”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam can’t wait to turn into He-Man this week, and doesn’t have time to mess about giving vague excuses.



There’s nothing to report here other than “old fool” from a space pirate to the wise old man, and the similar “fools” from Morgoth to He-Man and the Sorceress.

Origin 5
He-Man: “Yeah, sorry, Sorceress, but the brochure said this was a 5* resort.”


Egg on your face?

Orko manages to embed himself in a snowball in the opening scene, but since this is his method of avoiding being hit by a meteor, I imagine he doesn’t mind too much.


Does it have the Power?

I suspect I’ll earn the hatred of He-Fans around the world for saying this, but no, I don’t think it does. This is a very highly-regarded episode, presumably because it fills in some back story and shows us how the current state of affairs came to be. That’s fine, but to be honest, the Sorceress isn’t really a character I care about. Had it been the origin of Skeletor, or perhaps shown the first time Adam transformed into He-Man, perhaps I might have been able to muster some enthusiasm, but not for the Sorceress. And, being frank, the origin story isn’t very exciting, and neither was the fight with Morgoth at the end. If you want to know the ins and outs of Eternian history, therefore, this episode’s a good one for you; otherwise, it’s fairly boring and you’d not miss out by skipping it.

19 thoughts on “Episode 073 – Origin of the Sorceress

  1. One of the most beautifully written and scripted stories of the entire series! I can understand you not liking Orko Owen as he splits the crowd but even tho your entitled to your opinions and particular tastes the sorceress with all due respect is one of the main characters and arguably one of the most important characters, anyway it’s your opinion and I respect you for being different but if we’re giving our thoughts on these episodes and reviews iv got to be frank as well and I must defend this episode to the hilt it is one if the best episodes not just in season two but the entire series, an iv got to say ettocks review is spot on it is a beautiful story, the sorceress has been crying out for a story that gives her background and finally she gets this episode she deserves, there’s a lot of background story for her shaping her character i.e. She was teela na and how she came to be the sorceress, I loved the fact she was just a mortal and she was “chosen” strider certainly played his part two so it wasn’t padding he played a crucial part in the story, you get a real she ra feel to this episode as this is the episode that introduces us to the horde other than he man (as you can’t have he man without he man) the sorceress is probably the most important character with teela and skeletor I’d say these 4, for character writing this is one of the very best episodes and what impresses me most I think it displays he man and the sorceress friendship perfectly I even edge it over teelas quest slightly controversially, anyway I can understand your feelings on Orko but I can’t with this episode so all I will say is I respectfully but strongly disagree with you Owen and I urge any he man fan to see this episode it’s well worth watching this is special and one of the all time classics in this wonderful series, I know you weren’t keen on teelas quest I’m glad you like teela tho phew!! Anyway I know iv put my two cent in but James eatock and the IMDb ratings are spot on with this one in my opinion on of the finest he man episodes that this incredibly powerful character deserves! 10/10


    1. Actually, in retrospect, I think I was a little harsh on Teela’s Quest. I still don’t think it’s great but it wasn’t as pointless as I thought it was going to be. That’s probably because Teela is an interesting character in her own right, which I just don’t think the Sorceress is. I understand she’s important to the series and plays a big role in its mythology – but as far as I can see, she never does anything except give slightly unhelpful advice, often cloaked in needless riddles.

      As to the Horde – yes, that’s quite a cool bit of pre-shadowing for the She-Ra series, but it doesn’t actually add anything to this episode. It’s good to see it but I don’t think it particularly makes any difference to the Sorceress’ story, except in retrospect once you’ve seen Into Etheria etc.

      But as you say, each to his own!


  2. I like the Sorceress more than you (I think because I like her voice, which along with Teelas, shows how good Linda Gary can be). I can’t rebut any of what you say about her usefulness (although there is an episode coming up where she is ridiculously powerful, to the point of negating an entire episode’s plot).

    I will say that this episode, along with a few others, really confuses canon about the Sorceress’s ability to exist outside of Grayskull. There are episodes where she can leaves Grayskull without any trouble. There are others (like this one) where they say she can’t, except as Zoar. It’s all confusing and contributes to some of her frequent ineffectiveness.

    Regardless of the Sorceress, I don’t like this episode. Eatock and others argue it’s as good as Into the Abyss, Teela’s Quest (which has a self-nullifying ending), and The Problem With Power. That isn’t remotely true. The villain is boring, the Horde’s cameo makes no sense, and the framing device takes up too much time.


    1. And here I thought I would be on my own against the whole of fandom!

      As it is, it’s just me and Jeremy against the whole of fandom.


  3. Ok wow I will try an reply to both if you first Jeremy makes an excellent point regarding her ability to maintain her form outside grayskull, I can’t argue with that as we’ve all said before lack of continuity is a common theme in this series I think she does give an explanation tho to answer your comment in this episode why she doesn’t have to change into soar and I think it has a time span as she said at the end she had to leave as the Magic that maintained her human form is wearing off so I think she did give an explanation. Regarding the episodes you mention Jeremy your spot on the problem with power, into the abyss, rainbow warrior and teelas quest are classics not just classics the creme dela creme of the series I just in my humble opinion think origin of the sorceress is one of them as well to each our own tho!


  4. To respond to yours Owen that’s a fair reply and I respect what you say I just imo think the sorceress is not only very important but special as well I guess like you said with James eatock I’m one of the he man traditionalists! I completely agree with the point you made own about the sorceress giving unhelpful advice in season two she is much more helpful to he man and forthcoming but in seasons one I’d agree she was a little uncoroporative and unhelpful, I think Dave Newman touched on this with James eatock when they reviewed the dragons gift and it’s a fair point a lot of the season one ep she wasn’t overly helpful to quote in double edged sword “it’s too late for my magic to help him” but in season two she was much more like yes I’m happy to help! Anyway It seems at the mo I’m in my own with this ep but I’m sure there’s plenty out there that love the sorceress I hope she’s only one of the most important characters haha! Takecare..


  5. I think that this episode is better than the average of He-man episodes. But I don’t think it is a classic. This episode isn’t enough entairtaining: I indeed think that only the fight between Mogoth and the heroes is interesting, since Mogoth was very mean and was able to fight against both He-man and the Sorceress and as He-man during 2 minutes before being defeated which, I think, makes him an evil badass.

    Also, the Sorceress’ s characterization was interesting. We can know her character background. Also, the presence of the Horde in this episode made sense, I mean: The Horde was summoned by Mogoth to invade Ethernia. Thus, I think that it makes “origin of the sorceress” a little prequel to the She-ra Series.


  6. @Owen morton.
    “she never does anything except give slightly unhelpful advice, often cloaked in needless riddles.” Well, this is your personal opinion, mine is different. As far as I know, the Sorceress saved at least 3 times (probably more) He-man’s life, thus it is not nothing.

    Also, if the Sorceress never does anything, then Man-at-arms and Teela never do anything too, except that Teela’s character is more developped than the Sorceress’ character. Man-at-arms and Teela are indeed more often damsels in distress than the Sorceress is.

    And I personnaly think that the Sorceress’s behaviour makes more sense than Skeletor’s behaviour. Sure, Skeletor is a badass, but he is often clumsy and sometimes dumb. Also, he’s not a good leader (But the Sorceress is a good leader.)

    To conclude, every character in this show has many defaults except He-man. The one who does most of things is He-man and that’s all.


    1. Hi Jean-Paul! Thanks for reading and for all your really interesting thoughts, it’s great to hear your opinions!

      Regarding the Sorceress, I think I have a lower tolerance for this sort of character than many other people – I also find Jaga in Thundercats irritating, and don’t get me started on the Shaman from BraveStarr…

      I’m sure the Sorceress has saved He-Man’s life a few times – though off the top of my head, I can’t think when (Evilseed, maybe?).

      I think where she differs from Teela and Man-at-Arms is that she’s presented as a wise being, who should be more capable, whereas Teela and Man-at-Arms (and everyone else) are more regular “everyman” characters and thus it’s more believable that they need He-Man’s help.

      But Skeletor …. yeah. He really needs to think things through better in general.


  7. @Owen Morton

    Regarding the Sorceress, yeah it is your personal opinion, I respect it.
    Regarding Jaga in Thundercats, it has been a very very long time since I watched Thundercats. But I remember that he was dead since episode 1, wasn’t he? Thus he cannot die, which is not the case of the Sorceress. Also in He-man the Sorceress has to fight for castle Grayskull recurrently, but I only remember that Jaga fought one time (against a ghost), but maybe I’m wrong because I didn’t watch all Thundercats episodes. Also, I’m not a BraveStarr’s fan.

    The Sorceress saved He-man’s life in:
    (1) Reign of the Monster: Molkrom caught He-man with his tendrils but Zoar the falcon managed to dazzle Molkrom and He-man was released.
    (2) Shaping Staff: He-man was transformed into a Golden statute by Evelyn with the mighty shaping staff but the sorceress (while she was attacked by Evelyn too) managed to transform back him into He-man.
    (3) Evilseed: He-man was caught by vines in his wingraider. The vines were draining his energy, but then the Sorceress teleported him in casttle Grayskull.
    But sure, He-man has saved the Sorceress more times than she has saved him.

    I understand what you’re saying about Man-at-arms and Teela being “everyman” characters but on the other hand, they are not Guardians of castle Grayskull, thus they have a much fewer probability to be attacked by Skelettor and other mighty ennemies. Thus, it makes at least a bit sense to me that the Sorceress needs He-man’s help for this reason.
    Concerning Teela, Man-at-arms and the Sorceress, what I wanted to point out is that they are often victims of unbelievable circunstances or act irrealistically (even for normal persons), which always end with He-man saving them. Example: Episode number 1: Diamond Ray of Disappearance: Teela downed Trap-jaw’s windraider and she had all the royal guards with her and yet, she didn’t used her blasters against Trap-jaw, the royal guards didn’t help her and thus she needed to be saved by he-man from Trap-jaw. To me, it isn’t realistic. Also, Skelettor captured the king, the queen and Man-at-arms with his diamond ray. But he also caught Zoar by hazard while he wasn’t even interested in catching Zoar (he didn’t know that Zoar was the Sorceress.). I mean: There is no reason that Zoar arrives at the exact moment where Skeletor used his ray on the royal family. Of course, He-man had to save her at the end of this episode. And there are many examples like that in this series…

    Concerning Skeletor. Agreed.


  8. The sorceress for me has always been one of the most under appreciated characters and as you say one of the most important, but I know Owens feelings on the sorceress we all have different views it would be boring if we all felt the same as well! I agree with Jean Paul as you’ve stated the many times she’s saved he mans butt! For me of them all the reign of the monster one I would have to put right at the top too he man really did look in trouble in that one had it not been for the sorceress intervention..it’s important yo let fans know in general the good from the bad episodes as remember there seeing he man for the first time so even if there’s a top episode that’s generally recommended by the majority and it’s not one of my personal favourites I’d still recommend it otherwise fans mite miss out! I think it’s pretty fair to say there’s 3 season two episodes that are generally loved by most he man fans and there the problem with power, into the abyss and the rainbow warrior I’d recommend any of these 3 to look at there some of the very best episodes I just personally think origin of the sorceress is up there with the very best too it probably tells the most beautiful story in the series but as with everything that’s just my opinion and feelings on this episode, if there’s one character in this series that deserved an episode like this it’s the sorceress..


  9. To be precise, I don’t like nor dislike the Sorceress.
    Also, to be fair, I would have liked that Man-at-arms got an episode “origins of man-at-arms” and that Skeletor had alo an episode “origins of Skeletor”. I indeed would have liked to know more about Man-at-arms and Skeletor’s back stories.


  10. Well… if I’m honest I don’t know as much on the modern he man series ie the new adventure of he man and after that (filmation one is my fav and know the best) but I’m pretty sure an origin of skeletor episode did get covered much later on in the he man series after this 80s filmation one but I’ve no idea when or what episode! Think much later on skeletor turned out to be king randors brother or something ridiculous like that but I’m not too sure! What I am sure with tho is an origin of skeletor episode was definetly covered, I think it was called skeletors origin.. agree entirely regarding man at arms it would of been nice if his back ground was covered a bit more, the nearest episode you’ll get is teela’s quest in this episode you learn a bit more about man at arms and the episode called the remedy that’s a bit more frivolous (I personally think it’s a good episode) and in that one you’ll learn man at arms teacher rohad who taught him his inventions these two episodes sadly are the nearest you’ll get to a man at arms origin he deserved an origin episode and should of had one too I agree!!


    1. John, I thought the episode you’re referring to – Skeletor’s Origins – was a kind of compilation episode? Where they blended together three Filmation episodes into one film?


  11. It also has different closing credits. There’s a cel overly of the jawbridge over the backdrop of Castle Grayskull. It really stood out to me when I noticed it. I suspect this was in some way connected with She-Ra being in production about the same time so some stuff is a bit different? She-Ra’s sword gets a cameo and the invaders are clearly Horde members.


  12. Yeah this was I think the only he-man episode that had members of the horde in so it was interesting that they were invading eternia back then! The 2 power swords as you say can clearly be seen in the castle he-mans and she-ras soon to be princess of power! A reply I’ve only just seen to your comment Owen months back yes I think you are correct, skeletors origin I think might of been a compilation made up of three filmation episodes but I thought in much later he man series that I don’t watch they covered skeletors origin and how he used to have a normal face before his skeleton appearance but I’m not entirely sure on this I could of dreamed it up!! Anyways there was plenty of she early themed music going on in many season 2 episodes but this was the only he man episode that the horde made an appearance which was obviously there first ever appearance! Interestingly it never clearly states or not if morgoth the terrible was a horde member or not so will never know but in the other he man episode the great books mystery it is debated that batros (from the dark side of eternia) used to be part of the horde….


    1. @ john thompson

      As far as I understood this episode, Morgoth the terrible was presented as a sorceror
      who wanted to conquer Ethernia and the universe itself. The Sorceress said that “He betrayed our planet to an invading army”, implying that Morgoth is from Ethernia. Thus, it seems to me that Morgoth was not from the Horde, otherwise she would not accuse Morgoth of betraying Ethernia.


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