Rewatching the 1988 movie Willow scene-by-scene. Why? Because it’s freaking Willow! This scene will put hair on your chest, 58:18-59:09 on the Blu-ray.
We start with a shot of our heroes walking through a rocky terrain with spikey snow-capped peaks in the background, possibly foreshadowing the snowy scenes up coming up later. The Brownies pop up in foreground, with Rool saying “This way, this way.” This is consistent with him being the one who knows the directions. Then there’s a scenic shot of a waterfall. The camera slowly pans down to reveal Madmartigan holding baby Elora Danan as Willow approaches.
Willow asks Madmartigan what he’s doing. He says, “I found some blackroot. She loves it.” Willow gets angry, saying, “I am the father of two children, and you never, ever give a baby blackroot.” Madmartigan counters with, “Well my mother raised us on blackroot. It’s good for you. It puts hair on your chest.” The Willow tie-in books state that Madmartigan comes from a family of nobles before he became a fallen knight, but I suppose it’s still possible his mother gave him this blackroot as a child. What’s unknown is the “us” in his statement, as the books don’t appear to mention any siblings.
Okay, so what is blackroot? The wiki has almost no information, just repeating what’s said in this scene. Here in the real world, blackroot is a common herb that grows throughout North America in a variety of kinds. According to the botanical websites I looked at (I can’t believe I looked at botanical websites for this), blackroot can be converted into a tonic for help with an upset stomach, so it looks like Madmartigan is right. Most of these same websites, however, state that blackroot should be avoided by expectant mothers, so Willow knows what he’s talking about. None of the websites mentioned blackroot growing hairs on one’s chest. (Behind the scenes, real blackroot wasn’t used. Val Kilmer is chewing on a vanilla stick.)
Madmartigan concludes his hair-on-chest argument by turning to the baby and saying “Doesn’t it, Sticks?” Willow gets even more impatient, saying “Her name is not Sticks. She’s Elora Danan the future empress of Tir Asleen, and the last thing she’s going to want is a hairy chest!” Willow takes the blackroot from Madmartigan, including the one he’s got between his teeth, and throws it into the water at the bottom of the waterfall. This doesn’t faze Madmartigan, who says to the baby, “Did you see what he did? He stole our blackroot. I’ll get you some more don’t worry about it.”
A few thoughts on this. Willow’s “future empress” line of note, since all Cherlyndrea told Willow was to take the baby to Tie Asleen where “a good king and queen will look after her,” only adding that it is Elora Danan’s destiny to defeat Bavmorda. Willow seems to be extrapolating all this “princess” and “empress” talk. Secondly, the wiki page lists aliases for each character, but as of this writing, “Sticks” is somehow not an alias for Elora Danan. Here’s hoping some fan corrects that in the future. Finally, there’s not a lot of new information in this scene, more or less repeating the conversation about the baby from the previous scene, but it serves to develop the friendship between Willow and Madmartigan just a little further.
Next: Meager lives.
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