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The Magic of The Owl House

Photo by Matamoros, Dariela A – 0518701
Characters: Luz Noceda (brown haired girl), Eda Clawthorne (white haired woman) and King (skull head)

   “The Owl House”, originally on Disney, is an animated series set in the fantasy world of the Boiling Isles, home to witches and demons. The plot revolves around Luz Noceda, a human girl who becomes the apprentice of Eda Clawthorne, a rebellious witch infamous for breaking the norms established by a tyrant emperor.  The series addresses themes of friendship, identity, and resistance to oppressive systems via thrilling adventures and joyful moments, while also celebrating diversity and inclusivity. 

   To me, he show itself was a breath of fresh air for the Disney brand. Its style of developing characters and explaining why characters act the way they do as the story unfolds helps develop the show. 


The creation of “The Owl House” 

   “The Owl House” was a small idea Dana Terrace came up with in late 2016. According to an interview she did with Jackson Murphy for the AnimationScoop website, as storyboard artist for “Gravity Falls” and executive director for “Ducktales”, she found those to be different but very good experience. Disney has always been known for being a cheery program, with vibrant colors and optimistic characters, but Dana wanted to have her own take, where her show would have a distinct setting. 

   In the same interview, she states, “When I had this idea for a show, I thought, oh – it might be a little edgy for Disney. They might not be interested in something like this. So, I basically came into them with the concept: Girl goes to demon realm, learns to become a witch. Take it or leave it. And fortunately, they took it, and they allowed me to explore a lot of things.” 

   From the main character to a one-time scene character, you can see how much detail they put into making the show for what it is now.  I find admirable the diversity and inclusion of everything in the show, how the characters rebel against the injustice that happens in society, and the welcoming environment for those who feel out of place. 


Struggles characters overcame 

   Luz Noceda struggles with finding a sense of belonging. In the beginning, she comes across as “out of place” in the human world due to her bizarre interests in things like magic and fantasy. However, on the Boiling Isles (another dimension), her uniqueness is celebrated, embracing her for who she is. Luz’s journey includes battling repressive structures and questioning norms which allows her to find her place among individuals who share her ideals. 

   Willow Park is a supporting character of the show who struggled terribly with low self-esteem when we were first introduced to her. Personally, Willow is a strong character as she is one I can relate to. Struggling with low self-esteem has always been a challenge but “The Owl House” shows that you’re not alone when it comes to self-insecurity. The way her friends support her in every situation she gets stuck in allows her to have a more positive self-image and stand up against bullies. As a result of this development, she emerges to be a reliable ally and takes on leadership roles when needed. Her increased self-assurance helps her personally and motivates those around her. 


Themes throughout the show 

   Through the relationships Luz Noceda forges with people in the Boiling Isles, “The Owl House” delves into the theme of friendship and emphasizes the value of support and trust. The characters in the series help each other out when things become tough, promote personal development, and provide emotional support. By means of these exchanges, “The Owl House” demonstrates that friendship revolves around embracing diversity, growing from errors, and forging stronger bonds among one another.  

    Episode 10 of the show, “Escape of a Palisman” revolves around Luz losing the trust of a dear friend due to being insensitive to the other. The friend finds safety in someone else’s arms who faced the same situation. As a result, Luz tries her best to win back the trust she had lost and through the obstacles she faces to get to him, she regains his trust. The episode portrays the theme of friendship while understanding and supporting one another. 

   In Episode 32, “Any Sport in a Storm”, one of the major characters, Hunter, who struggled throughout the show for a place of purpose and support, finds these needs met through a student-led sports team with Willow as captain, who’s someone who struggled with insecurities herself. This episode is consistent with the show’s main themes of acceptance and supporting one another no matter the differences. 

    In an interview Dana did with Dave Trumbore for the Collider website, she says, “…I think it’s just a very important message for kids to learn: It’s okay to express yourself. You should be able to express yourself in any kind of productive fashion you want to…The magical world and the magic that the characters use are always a framing device for the grounded emotional stories we’re trying to tell.” 

Why it was cancelled 

   “The Owl House” was cancelled primarily due to corporate and strategic reasons rather than issues with the show’s content or reception. Dana Terrace, the show’s creator, explained in a Reddit AMA that “it was an executive decision” and cited the show’s atypical style as a reason for its cancellation.  She said, “At the end of the day, there are a few businesspeople who oversee what fits into the Disney brand.”  

   Despite the cancellation, “The Owl House” gained a loyal fan base, leading to campaigns to save the show, which was a tactic in bringing it to the attention of the Disney decision-making process. An example of their campaign is the petition “Fans Rally to Save ‘The Owl House” on released on Oct. 10, 2021. 

   For me, it truly was devastating learning about the fourth season of the show being cut from production since everyone was expecting four seasons to be produced. When I was hit with the news that it was because of an executive decision, I was infuriated, but looking back now, everyone has their own beliefs and point of view on things. There wasn’t much that a whole democracy of teens/ young adults could do through a petition online. That wasn’t something that could be changed overnight, but, in the end, we had our happy ending no matter how rocky the road to the finish line was. 


Inclusivity of the Disney Brand 

   Because of its representation of LGBTQ+ characters and emphasis on identification and acceptance, “The Owl House” has been crucial in advancing diversity and inclusion within the Disney brand. With a significant same-sex romantic relationship between its lead characters, Luz Noceda and Amity Blight, the series broke new ground for Disney and was met with both positive reception and open celebration within the plot. Disney has been challenged to consider broader inclusion in its future material due to the diverse audience’s appreciation of this proactive approach to storytelling. 

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