For media that was marketed to children (past tense intentional, we’ll get to that later), “The Owl House” showcases an impressive depth of characters. There’s King (Alex Hirsch), a younger version of the same near-cosmic cryptid that the Boiling Isles are literally made of, who lives with Eda and Luz in the titular Owl House. Speaking of, Hooty lives there, too. I, uh, won’t be explaining him. I don’t think I can. I don’t think I should. Anyway, both Eda and Luz come packaged with family trauma. For Luz, it’s her overprotective mother. For Eda, it’s her sister who works for a government that criminalized Eda’s every manner of living. Oh, and she might have had something to do with Eda’s curse, which transforms her into a giant owl monster. See? The title makes sense.
Apart from them, there’s Emperor Belos (Matthew Rhys), a tyrannical ruler set on controlling all the magic in the Demon Realm. When summarizing his backstory, imagine if the book version of Howl from “Howl’s Moving Castle” was evil. There are also the students of Hexside (more on that later, too), like Willow Park (Tati Gabrielle) and Gus Porter (Isaac Ryan Brown), who befriend Luz even though she can’t perform magic as they can. And what teen fantasy drama would be complete without some rivals? Enter Amity Blight (Mae Whitman), Luz’ rival-turned-spoiler-warning–but-it’s-too-late-now-girlfriend, and Hunter (Zeno Robinson), Belos’ Golden Guard. For him, imagine if Zuko died … many, many times in the service of his father, Fire Lord Ozai.
We’re just scratching the surface, here. “The Owl House” is a complex, character-driven narrative that is made all the more interesting by how it reflects stories that have come before. And, with that, it’s time to get nerdy.