Rewatching the 1988 movie Willow scene-by-scene. Why? Because it’s freaking Willow! Things are getting political up in here, 16:13-19:30 on the Blu-ray.
First things first: Where are we, exactly? The previous scene had Willow stating he needs to take the baby to the village council, so thanks to movie editing we can surmise that this is the village council. But it appears to take place inside a big barn, complete with a rope and pulley system to get to a balcony area. One Nelwyn demonstrates this as the camera passes across the room. The tie-in fiction states that the Nelwyn are not normally political, so the town council only meets on rare occasions, usually to settle disputes between farmers. Therefore, this barn (or barnlike structure) is being used a makeshift meeting place rather than an established town hall. Notice there are also several chickens in this scene, walking around in the background just being chickens.
There are about 50 people in the room, all shouting at once. I find it unlikely that all these people are members of the council, but rather have attended the council meeting out of concern. Burglekutt’s voice cuts through the din, saying, “Silence! One beast we can kill, but there may be more.” He says the death dogs won’t give up until they find what they are looking for.
Willow enters, with the baby and his family. Note that Kaiya is wearing one of the elaborate headdresses worn by several other Nelwyn women during the big festival. One voice cries out “We must find who is to blame,” and another demands that the culprit be thrown into “the pit.” It’s left up to the imagination what “the pit” is. The Nelwyn go into bloodthirsty mob mode, chanting “In the pit! In the pit!” Willow and Kaiya turn to leave, but the High Aldwin spots Willow, quiets the crowd, and asks him to come forward.
Willow explains that his children found the baby by the river, and the High Aldwin instantly recognizes the baby as a Daikini child. Burglekutt deduces that the baby is what the death dogs are after and suggests turning the baby over to them. Willow rightly points out that the dogs will kill the baby. Burglekutt goes into full-on jerk mode and argues “It’s not one of us.”
The High Aldwin quiets the crowd again, saying there is something special about the baby, and that it must be taken to Daikini crossroads far outside the village, across the great river. Burglekutt nominates Willow to be one to make the trip. Willow doesn’t seem down with that idea, and Kaiya reacts with a big dramatic “No!”
The High Aldwin holds up a small black bag tied around his neck with a black string. He shakes it and proclaims, “I will consult the bones!” He drops a small group of bones from the bag. Finger bones, most likely, but it’s hard to know. They’re on the ground right next to the baby, who can be seen in the corner of the screen. The High Aldwin calls Willow over for a whispered, private conversation. I wonder what all the other Nelwyn are doing why these two are whispering to each other. I suppose the High Aldwin has enough good will to get away with stuff like this. He says “The bones tell me nothing,” as Willow looks surprised by this. He then asks “Do you have any love for this child?” Willow looks at the baby and says “Yes, yes I do.” The High Aldwin stands and announces to the room, “The bones have spoken.”
The humor here is that the bones appear to be magical and wondrous, but are really B.S. The High Aldwin is playing on the beliefs of the locals to get his way, even if his way is for the better of the community. The tie-in fiction confirms this, saying flat-out that the bones have no supernatural properties. Further, in the novel Shadow Moon, Willow kept the bones with him in his old age, a gift from the High Aldwin, saying that the bones never did anything for him either, but they came in handy whenever he needed to look impressive.
The High Aldwin says the safety of the village depends on Willow, and Burglekutt, no doubt thinking this means getting rid of Willow, chants “Praise the bones!” The High Aldwin says Willow will need help, and asks who has the courage to protect Willow and the baby on the journey. Meegosh volunteers, and Burglekutt says, “Excellent choice.” So I guess he doesn’t like Meegosh either. Then Vohnkar volunteers. Burglekutt argues that Vohnkar is the best warrior in the village and must stay. Note that Vohnkar brought his spear to the meeting. Was he concerned a fight would break out? Also, a group of men standing behind Burglekutt are holding matching staffs with white tips. Are these the other members of the village council?
Reading the room, the High Aldwin then says the expedition needs a leader, and he alleges that bones are telling him that Burglekutt is to be that leader. Then there’s more comedy as a panicking Burglekutt turns and shouts for Vohnkar, even though Vohnkar’s right there in the room with him.
Next: First steps.
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.