Episode 61 – Darksmoke and Fire

In which Granamyr pops up again, although I wish he hadn’t bothered.

Today’s little intrigue centres around Modulok, who has been busy creating a massive missile. It is intended for use next time She-Ra opens a gateway to Eternia and will apparently make said gateway unstable, with the result that She-Ra could be deposited absolutely anywhere. To be honest, this is unlikely to be successful, but Hordak seems impressed.

Luckily, they don’t have long to wait before they can test the missile. For no readily discernible reason, Adora and Light Hope open a gateway to Eternia, so Modulok deploys the missile. Adora ends up on Eternia anyway, which is surprising given the claim she could be deposited in a random location anywhere throughout the universe. To give Modulok a tiny bit of credit, Adora is somewhere in the Eternian wilderness, not in the Palace as she expected.

Darksmoke 1
Hordak: “Modulok, is it possible that you didn’t have time to test the missile because you wasted ages painstakingly painting the Horde logo on it?”

Or is she? Adora suddenly recognises the landscape, and realises that the Palace is gone. Before she has time to muse on this surprising situation, some people run past, chasing someone else. Without giving any thought to who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong, Adora changes into She-Ra and takes the side of the person being chased.

After she chases off the chasers, She-Ra doesn’t have time to discuss the situation before being attacked by a dragon. Luckily, the guy who was being chased intervenes, and fortunately he gets a name at this point, so I can now refer to him as Tarben. The dragon is introduced as Brightstar, and it seems he and Tarben are friends. Tarben thanks She-Ra for her help, and takes her to a place called Dragon Valley.

Darksmoke 2
Tarben: “I’m sensing a distinct disparity in the amount of screen She-Ra and I have been allocated.”

In Dragon Valley, She-Ra meets Granamyr, our old mate of a dragon from some of He-Man’s best episodes. She-Ra seems to know who Granamyr is, having been told about him by He-Man, King Randor, Man-at-Arms and Orko – but these names are unfamiliar to Granamyr. Luckily, before this can get any more confusing, Granamyr casts a spell on She-Ra, and works out that she has arrived on Eternia 1000 years in the past.

The episode then embarks on a convoluted plotline about some idiot dressed in purple who wants to start a war between the local villagers and the dragons. I don’t know what the middle stage of this plan is, but the anticipated endgame is that the purple-clothed idiot will become ruler of Eternia. He burns down a tower full of food and blames it on the dragons, whipping the dim-witted villagers up into a warlike frenzy.

Darksmoke 4
Granamyr: “Nice to see that even 1000 years in the past, I still had a really goofy helmet.”

Tarben now reveals that he is the king, which doesn’t quite ring true given that earlier in the episode the villagers were chasing him around shouting insults at him. Surely they’d have greater respect for their king? Anyway, he pops off to stop the villagers and the dragons fighting, and She-Ra, disregarding the Temporal Prime Directive, goes to help. The rest of the episode showcases She-Ra’s efforts to stop the war, and it’s dull as ditchwater.

I hardly need to tell you that the war is averted, and I certainly don’t need to tell you how she does it, because it’s equal parts boring and stupid. The dragons and the humans make friends, the purple-clothed idiot disappears in a puff of purple smoke, and Granamyr comes up with a way to send She-Ra home so she can stop polluting Ancient Eternia with her self-righteous smuggery.

Darksmoke 5
Tarben: “This bit of Poundland bling will prove I’m king, no question.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee, who was hiding in a tree right at the end of the episode, pops up to tell us that Granamyr was absolutely awesome in He-Man, especially in The Dragon’s Gift, and that it’s a real shame he was subsequently relegated to appear in tripe like this. Oh, all right, no he doesn’t. Instead, he tells us that we shouldn’t try to blame others for our misdeeds, like the purple-clothed idiot tried to blame the dragons. I wonder if the writer of this episode tried to blame it on anyone else. I would have, if I’d written it.

 

Character checklist

I can barely be bothered to recount who turned up this week, but in the interests of completeness, I suppose I’d better tell you it was Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Tarben, Brightstar, Granamyr, various dragons and villagers, Hordak, Modulok, Imp, the purple-clothed idiot, and a surprise reappearance for Lokus from Wizard of Stone Mountain. Though it’s possibly just a re-use of his animation. I don’t care either way.

Darksmoke 3
Purple-clothed idiot: “Maybe this serves as an origin story for Lokus, not that anyone wanted one.”

 

Insults

One of the villagers calls Tarben a “rotten dragon-lover”, and another says that dragons are “overgrown lizards”. Otherwise, there’s nothing to report here, except that the purple-clothed idiot repeatedly refers to the Lokus Animation Reuse as “slutty”. I’m not sure if this is a surprisingly extreme insult, a monumentally badly chosen name, or my notoriously unreliable ears playing tricks on me again.

 

Does it have the Power?

I found this episode deeply unsatisfying, and I’m not totally sure why. I think it’s largely that it seemed so pointless somehow; I don’t know why I should care about some extremely minor conflict between dragons and humans way back in Eternia’s past. If it had shown us something new about Granamyr’s character, perhaps demonstrating how he came to be so wise and powerful, then that would be a different story, but here he’s exactly the same as he was in He-Man, evidently not having changed at all in a thousand years.

Darksmoke 6
Adora: “There’s a perfectly rational explanation for this.”

The idea of stranding She-Ra in the past was a good one, but the episode didn’t really seem to go anywhere with it. She-Ra just behaves like she usually does, getting involved in silly situations and not putting any apparent effort into getting home. Tarben is a curiously poorly-drawn character (is he a king or a villager, and why does he like dragons when no one else does?) and the less said about the purple-clothed idiot, the better. I’d whole-heartedly recommend skipping this bilge.

Advertisements

Episode 114 – Battle of the Dragons

In which a war between dragons is somehow boring.

This week, we are introduced to a very evil-looking dragon called Morningstar, who has hatched a plan to rule Eternia. This plan hinges on the acquisition of the Ice Crystal, which will allow Morningstar to put out the fire from which Granamyr draws his powers, after which he plans to depose Granamyr and start a war with the humans.

With the Crystal in his possession, Morningstar heads straight for Darksmoke and uses it to put out Granamyr’s fire. When Granamyr kicks off about it, Morningstar claims that the fire was extinguished by humans. It’s unfortunate, therefore, that He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko are even now arriving for a visit to Darksmoke to celebrate the anniversary of the treaty between dragons and humans. Overriding Granamyr’s concerns, Morningstar sends a squadron of dragons who force the Wind Raider to crash land.

Battle 1
He-Man: “Typical Easyjet.”

Morningstar persuades most of the dragons to prepare for war, but Granamyr refuses to join them. When He-Man’s party finally arrives at Darksmoke, Granamyr fills them in on the situation. Though he believes Morningstar that some humans put out his fire, he does not wish for war over it – but without his magic, he cannot prevent the other dragons. He then casually mentions that his fire can only be re-lit with flames from the Pit of Shadows, in the same sort of fashion that a child might just happen to mention they’d like a new bike or something in the run-up to Christmas.

Of all people, it’s Orko who picks up on this subtle hint, and promises to retrieve the flames for Granamyr. Of course, he’s accompanied by He-Man and Man-at-Arms, and the three of them manage to get hold of some of the flames with no trouble. They return to Granamyr and relight his fire, after which Granamyr persuades the majority of the dragons to call off their attacks on human villages.

Battle 2
Man-at-Arms: “Pretty sure Take That did a song based on the plot to this episode.”

Naturally, Morningstar doesn’t listen to Granamyr, and so the two of them breathe fire at each other for a while. Granamyr wins, as you may well have predicted, then shows mercy, and there’s time enough for a return visit to Darksmoke and a less-than-amusing joke to finish the episode. Despite it not being at all funny, we are treated to at least 30 seconds’ worth of Man-at-Arms, He-Man and Granamyr laughing like hysterical hyenas.

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms draws inspiration from Granamyr and Morningstar’s fire-breathing competition, at the end of which Granamyr did not press the matter further. Man-at-Arms tells us that winning is no excuse for bad manners, and reminds us that being a good winner is as important as being a good loser. It’s tempting to say Man-at-Arms is a loser, but he’s too easy a target, so I won’t.

 

Character checklist

It’s not big on the regulars, limiting itself to Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko, but it makes up for that with a reasonably hefty guest cast, consisting of Granamyr, Morningstar, a dude called Targon, and a whole load of dragons and some human villagers.

Battle 3
Granamyr: “Orko, you can either get off my head voluntarily or as a result of some serious violence.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s transformation

As usual these days, Adam transforms with only Man-at-Arms around, and thus doesn’t bother with the tired excuses.

 

Insults

It’s the first time in quite a while, but no one insults anyone else today. Unless of course I missed it, because this episode was pretty boring and I wouldn’t mind betting I zoned out quite often while it was on.

Battle 4
Morningstar: “Check out my new bling.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is a disappointing episode, all the more so because I have really enjoyed the other three episodes involving Granamyr, so I was rather looking forward to this one. It’s all the more tragic given this is most likely Granamyr’s last appearance (there’s only 16 episodes left, folks, and it’s unlikely he’ll be showing up again), so it’s a shame he goes out on a damp squib.

I understand what they were aiming at with this episode, but it all came across as quite stunningly mediocre. There was never a sense of threat or peril, and frankly Orko got far too much screen time, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms seemed to be sleepwalking through the story and didn’t really do anything. I somehow just didn’t care about Morningstar and his plot, and Granamyr seemed far too vulnerable as compared to his previous appearances.

There were two points I really liked though, one at the start and one at the end. We first meet Morningstar when he’s talking to a dude named Targon, who has brought him the Ice Crystal. This scene is cleverly constructed, giving Targon his own motivations and schemes (he’s plainly intending to double-cross Morningstar at some point), to the extent that the viewer thinks Targon is the episode’s main baddy. Then Morningstar simply freezes him with the Ice Crystal, and we never see him again! It’s a great subversion of the viewer’s expectations.

Battle 5
Targon: “I’m suddenly a bit concerned about my long-term prospects.”

The other moment comes at the end of the episode, just as Granamyr and He-Man are wrapping things up at Darksmoke. Over the course of the episode, the dragons have destroyed a human village. Normally, in this cartoon, we’d see the villagers standing round laughing their heads off at the end of the episode, forgetting the fact that they now have no homes. Here, Granamyr actually promises to rebuild the village. It’s a very nice touch of realism rarely seen in He-Man World.

These two immensely positive points, however, don’t really redeem the dull 18 minutes that they bookend. If I were you, I’d ignore this episode and pretend that Granamyr’s story finished with Disappearing Dragons.

Episode 079 – Disappearing Dragons

In which heroes and villains alike unite to hurl insults at a mute robot.

Responding to an invitation from Granamyr, He-Man and Orko make their way to Darksmoke, where Orko proceeds to wind Granamyr up a right treat. Sadly, before Granamyr can murder Orko, He-Man intervenes to ask why they were invited. Granamyr explains that dragons have been disappearing from Dragon Mountain, and that he has been unable to discover the cause, so he requests He-Man’s assistance in investigating.

He-Man decides to undertake a search of the Eternian wilderness, and calls on his new friends Mechaneck and Buzz-Off to help. It takes our heroes a very short space of time to find two of Skeletor’s cronies, Webstor and Kobra Khan, trying to use a mysterious machine on a dragon. In attempting to prevent them, Orko manages to activate the machine, resulting in He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan all disappearing. Before Orko can attempt to reverse the effect, the machine blows up.

Disappearing
Webstor: “Why is there a giant ear at the front of the screen?”

Orko summons Granamyr, who helps him to repair the machine. In the meantime, the heroes and villains appear in an unfamiliar place which He-Man instantly identifies as “another dimension”, though how he can tell this so quickly is not made clear. Webstor and Kobra Khan do a runner to a city, and He-Man, Mechaneck and Buzz-Off decide to follow them, where they quickly discover a whole load of caged dragons.

Two men and a woman now show up, and imprison our heroes in a forcefield from which even He-Man cannot escape. They explain that they are the only three remaining survivors of a war that devastated their race, the Dami, and that their sole remaining pleasure is to force dragons to fight each other in a gladiatorial arena. In return for providing dragons, they will supply Kobra Khan and Webstor with the means to conquer Eternia.

Disappearing 2
Dami: “Yes, we’re inspired by the Romans. And before you ask, yes, Romans did have goofy helmets like this.”

He-Man not unexpectedly gets on his customary high horse about this, but his protests fall on deaf ears. However, on a suggestion from Kobra Khan, the Dami offer He-Man an alternative: if he fights and defeats an enormous stupid robot called Bellatron, they will release He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off and the dragons. He-Man accepts this deal of a lifetime, and is transported from the forcefield into the arena.

The battle with Bellatron is pretty tedious, except for the really rather odd bit in which we get a point-of-view shot from Bellatron’s perspective in which it is made clear that he is aiming his weapons directly at He-Man’s crotch. Rather unusually, Bellatron actually gets to a stage where he is about to defeat He-Man, but Granamyr and Orko show up just in time to get involved too. Once Bellatron is destroyed, the Dami – reasonably enough – declare the match invalid because He-Man had outside assistance.

Disappearing 3
Bellatron: “The reason Skeletor never wins is because he never attempts to shoot He-Man in the balls.”

While He-Man and his mates go and have a gratuitous fight with Webstor and Kobra Khan, Granamyr decides that an appropriate punishment for the Dami will be to make them fight each other for his entertainment. He-Man isn’t cool with this, and persuades Granamyr that an eye for an eye does not constitute justice. Instead, the Dami are told to go and rebuild their world. This presumably involves repopulation, but with a starting gene pool consisting of only three people, I suspect this is doomed to failure.

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral of this week’s episode is that you should not hurt or tease animals, but instead treat them with kindness. This will be, as He-Man so intelligently puts it, “more fun for you, and for the animal!” He says this in that special tone of his that implies he’s making a really funny joke, and has a massive great big smirk on his face the whole time, which leads me to suspect that He-Man secretly gets a whole load of pleasure in pulling the wings off flies. Or possibly pulling the wings off Buzz-Off.

 

Character checklist

This episode gives us a fairly unusual cast. Obviously, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko and the Sorceress, but Granamyr, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan are quite out of the ordinary. Bellatron and the Dami – introduced as Verdor, Kara and Bylon – are the one-shot characters of the week. Typing that, I’ve just realised that Bellatron and the Dami is an ace name for a band.

Disappearing 4
He-Man: “Go on, Granamyr! Eat him! He’s asking for it! He’s been asking for it for 78 episodes now!”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Not only do we get no excuse this week, it’s a rare beast indeed because the transformation actually takes place off screen. For possibly the first time ever, we don’t have to sit through the recycled “By the Power of Grayskull” animation. That alone makes this episode worth watching.

 

Insults

This episode quite possibly breaks the all-time record for insults. Towards the beginning, Orko rather unwisely decides to call Granamyr “lizard-breath” and a “big bully”, while Webstor and Kobra Khan trade the insults “Web-head” and the possibly misheard “Snake-pus”. Mechaneck gets in on the act, calling Kobra Khan a “snake-face”, while Webstor retaliates by referring to Buzz-Off as a “bee-brain” and He-Man as a “muscle-bound meddler”. Elsewhere, Kobra Khan considers Orko a “meddling little wizard” and Buzz-Off rather mildly calls the Dami “bats”.

Finally, pretty much everyone has unkind things to say about Bellatron, perhaps in the secure knowledge that since he can’t talk, he won’t be answering back. Buzz-Off starts the ball rolling with “hunk of junk” and Mechaneck attempts to top this with “rolling rust pot”. Webstor sees the fun everyone else is having, so joins in with the distinctly unimaginative “stupid robot”. He-Man then contributes the slightly odd “bucket-face”, and follows it up with “overgrown teapot”. While this latter is not particularly amusing now, I had this episode on VHS when I was little, and I can remember me and my sister rewinding it to watch this quip over and over, then laughing till the tears rolled down our cheeks. My sister and I were very stupid children.

Disappearing 5
Bellatron: “Hey, armour-plated killing machines have feelings too, you know.”

 

Does it have the Power?

For the reasons just outlined, I do have a very soft spot for this episode, but I think even without the history I have with it, I’d consider it a good one. Granamyr is a great character, the new animation for the Dami’s world is beautifully ominous, and it’s good to see this cartoon tackling blood sports in such a head-on manner. As an introduction for Kobra Khan and Mechaneck, for whom this is their first appearance, it serves pretty well, both of them coming across as relatively competent – and in Kobra Khan’s case, rather threatening. On the downside, both Webstor and Buzz-Off have really irritating voices. That’s only a very minor complaint though – this episode is well worth your time.

Episode 060 – The Return of Granamyr

In which 45 minutes’ worth of plot is crammed into 20 minutes.

Responding to a message from Granamyr – the oldest and wisest of the dragons, last seen in The Dragon’s Gift – He-Man and Man-at-Arms head to Darksmoke, where they meet Granamyr and another dragon called Torm. Torm is the youngest of the dragons, and he is in love with a human called Lyra. Torm is prepared to become human in order to marry Lyra, but Lyra’s father Brindle demands that any suitor must undergo a test before Lyra can be pledged in marriage. The dragons have a law which states they cannot become human until the wedding day, so Granamyr and Torm request that He-Man act as Torm’s champion for the test. I must say, this law must have been born out of some bizarre circumstances, but there we go.

He-Man and Man-at-Arms arrive at Lyra’s home just in time to see another suitor called Zem being rejected, presumably on the basis of his snarly mouth, evil eyebrows and dodgy moustache. Brindle informs He-Man that the test will take place in the morning, but that tonight they will be his guests, which sounds great, but it seems to consist of them having to go to bed straight away.

Granamyr 1.jpg
He-Man: “Night night, Man-at-Arms. Sleep tight. Mind that stupid demon doesn’t bite.”

In the middle of the night, Zem sends a demon to take He-Man and Man-at-Arms away to an evil dimension. The demon’s first priority, interestingly, seems to be to destroy Man-at-Arms’ bed, but after that it proves surprisingly effective and would have succeeded if it weren’t for Brindle’s intervention. Brindle then casts a spell of protection over his castle, while outside Zem chatters away to himself to the effect that he will defeat He-Man in the morning.

The rest of the night passes without incident, though I do wonder where Man-at-Arms slept. Anyway, after he has his Cheerios, He-Man is shown to a huge maze, and told that somewhere inside is a tree bearing a single silver apple. If he can bring the apple to Brindle, then Lyra will be free to marry Torm. Fortunately, it doesn’t take He-Man very long to find his way to the tree, and he quickly acquires the apple after a tug-of-war with a metallic centaur (don’t ask). Despite a short encounter with Zem inside the maze, He-Man emerges, presents the apple, and winks stupidly at the camera.

granamyr-2
He-Man: “Owen tried five times to get a screencap of me actually winking, but it fades to black too quickly, so this will have to do.”

He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Brindle and Lyra return to Granamyr, while Zem pops out into the wastelands and revives Shadow Wing, the ancient enemy of the dragons of Darksmoke. Shadow Wing turns Zem into a frog for his troubles, then flies off to destroy Darksmoke. Unfortunately, he comes up against both He-Man and Granamyr, and consequently causes a spot of trouble but winds up being banished to the Realm of Demons with relative ease.

There remains only for Torm to be made human and for him to marry Lyra, both of which occur within the last 45 seconds of the episode. They don’t thank He-Man, which seems a little churlish; luckily, Granamyr remembers his manners and thanks He-Man, before a slightly odd bit of animation shows him skulking back down into his pit.

granamyr-3
Granamyr: “I now pronounce you human-dragon and wife.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Given he had nothing to do with this episode, it’s a little odd to see King Randor showing up to deliver the moral, which is that fighting is bad. Halfway through the moral, the writer seems to realise that no one ever listens to Randor, so brings He-Man in to reiterate the point.

 

Character checklist

It’s another episode packed to bursting with characters, many of them this week ones that we’ve never seen before and undoubtedly will never see again. In this category are Brindle, Torm, Lyra, Zem, Shadow Wing and the silly metallic centaur, to which are added the recurring Granamyr and the usual contenders of Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, and King Randor.

granamyr-4
He-Man: “I’ve seen some silly things in my time, but you, sir, take the biscuit.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Once again, it’s a case of Adam becoming He-Man in the company of those who know the secret, so he doesn’t see fit to volunteer an excuse.

 

Insults

Zem’s demon calls He-Man and Man-at-Arms “mortal fools”, and He-Man retaliates with something that sounds very much like “ugly”, though the music level was overwhelming at this point so I couldn’t properly tell. Otherwise, Brindle refers to Zem as a “jealous fool”, and Torm and Granamyr respectively call Shadow Wing an “evil worm” and a “wretched worm”.

granamyr-5
Zem: “Check out how evil I look.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This episode has a lot of ambition, and tries to pack a huge amount of story into its 20 minute running time. I was left with the impression that it could have done with being a two-parter in order to let the story breathe a bit. Torm’s love for Lyra, Zem’s jealousy and demon attack, the maze, the attack of Shadow Wing, and the eventual wedding all whizzed past rather too quickly. Zem’s eventual fate – being turned into a frog – in particular feels like it receives a serious short-changing. That being said, I really enjoyed it all – there’s a definite feeling of epic history to this episode, and Eternia felt really fleshed out with believable characters. Even He-Man didn’t do anything ludicrous. I would definitely say it’s worth watching, but suffers for trying to do a little bit too much.

Episode 034 – The Dragon’s Gift

In which He-Man doesn’t cut down a tree.

We find our heroes this week in the Palace, where Ambassador Therrin from the Kingdom of East Fen (presumably somewhere near Cambridge) has arrived with a gift. I should mention here that Therrin has a super evil moustache, a huge all-in-one brown body suit, eyes with no pupils, and a weasely voice. You will, therefore, be as surprised as I was when I reveal that he is actually Skeletor in disguise.

But all that’s to come. For now, Therrin presents Randor with a bust of himself, to which Randor immodestly comments, “Why, it’s magnificent.” However, just as Randor is about to start stroking the bust, Man-at-Arms spots Skeletor’s crossbones logo peeping through the body suit, and grabs the bust himself. He is immediately transformed into a crystal sculpture of himself.

Dragon Gift

Skeletor simply starts complaining that now he’ll have to find another way to claim the Eternian throne, and is swiftly attacked by Teela and a contingent of well-meaning but useless guards. The odds are evened a little more by the appearance of He-Man and Battle-Cat, at which point Skeletor teleports out. Discussion immediately begins on how to bring Man-at-Arms back to life, though no one stops to question whether they should actually bother.

He-Man and Teela take Man-at-Arms to Castle Grayskull, where the Sorceress proves as useless as ever, revealing that the transformation is beyond her power to reverse. She does, however, suggest that Granamyr, oldest and wisest of the dragons of Darksmoke, may have the answer. Teela wants to know where to find Darksmoke, but the Sorceress will not say, as to reveal the whereabouts would break an ancient pact made between the dragons and Grayskull.

Consequently, He-Man and Teela hit the books to find clues in ancient myths as to where Darksmoke is. I’d be impressed if the books they read actually had words or even pictures in them, but no, they’re just blank pages. Finally, He-Man finds a clue: dragons and ice trolls are friends, so maybe they should pop up to the Ice Mountains, find a troll, and start asking questions.

Dragon Gift 2

He-Man, Teela and Battle-Cat head to the Ice Mountains, where they navigate a number of icy hazards, including an avalanche and a bunch of mutant polar bears. In addition, both Teela and He-Man comment that it’s cold, to which I’d have far more sympathy if either of these scantily clad characters had bothered to put a coat or at least a jumper on before coming to the Ice Mountains. Finally, they locate some ice trolls, but don’t really bother asking any questions, since by this point they’re standing right next to Darksmoke anyway.

He-Man doesn’t knock and instead simply waltzes into Darksmoke, then yells out for Granamyr, who appears out of a fire pit, looking mightily annoyed. After commenting that he doesn’t respect He-Man, Granamyr reveals that he is indeed able to undo the crystallisation of Man-at-Arms, but he will only do so if He-Man and Teela chop down Skytree, the only living thing on Eternia older than Granamyr himself.

Dragon Gift 3

Once our heroes agree to this bargain, Granamyr transports them to the Forgotten Forest, where Skytree can be found. He-Man produces his sword and is about to chop the tree down, when suddenly it develops eyes and a mouth and starts talking. Skytree tells of the history of the Forgotten Forest, how a Man-at-Arms has always existed through Eternia’s long ages, and how it owes one such Man-at-Arms a debt. It solemnly agrees to be chopped down to save the life of the current Man-at-Arms.

He-Man feels guilty, and rightly so. He declines to chop down Skytree, and after moping about for a bit to ease her murderous rage, Teela agrees. They return to Granamyr and explain that trees have as much right to life as Granamyr does. There’s a dicey moment where Granamyr threatens to send them to the Realm of Demons for ever, but in the end he notes that He-Man has displayed honour and wisdom, and thus agrees to save Man-at-Arms.

Dragon Gift 4

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela’s pearl of wisdom this week is that trees near you probably don’t talk, and if they do, you’re on some pretty major hallucinogens. Her point, however, is that all living things deserve respect, as life is a precious gift. This moral fits the story perfectly, as I’m sure you can see.

 

Characters appearing

Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, the Sorceress, Skeletor, yadda yadda. Also – Granamyr! Hooray! And Skytree. And some ice trolls. And a nutty little leprechaun.

Dragon Gift 5

 

Excuse for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

When Adam is about to transform into He-Man, he mutters to Cringer, “Come on, cat, let’s find ourselves a quiet spot.” It’s hardly an excuse, but it is the best we’ve had for some time.

It’s also worth noting that the episode begins with Adam being late. Randor wants to know where Adam is, and Man-at-Arms says he’s doing some important government business. Teela chips in to say that she doesn’t consider Lady Amanda to be government business, which certainly sounds like she considers Adam and Lady Amanda are up to some Eternian hanky-panky.

 

Insults

He-Man returns to an old favourite, referring to Skeletor as “Bonehead”.

Dragon Gift 6

 

Does it have the Power?

A resounding yes! I thought at first that my reaction was simply because of the contrast to last week’s appalling effort, but in truth The Dragon’s Gift is a successful He-Man story in every way. It’s always good to see Skeletor and one of his typical demented schemes; he’s been sorely missed the last few weeks. The Ice Mountains are an exciting new location, and Granamyr is a very interesting character, being neither friend nor foe. He needs to lose that goofy helmet though.

I liked the various touches of Eternian history thrown in, with the Sorceress’ references to the ancient pact between the dragons and Grayskull, and also Skytree’s monologue concerning a long ago battle with witches. Both of these really help to flesh out Eternia and make it seem more real. The twist in the tale when He-Man refuses to chop down the tree is easy to see coming for you or me, but I can imagine being genuinely surprised if I’d seen this as a child. Though maybe I was just a stupid child. It’s also great to have the respect for life message so often seen in He-Man extended to plants and presumably animals.

And best of all, Orko isn’t in it. Actually, that’s not the best: the best is that the Starchild isn’t in it.