Here, There be a Writer

Friday, April 13, 2018

L is for Last (Unicorn)

"Am I really the last?" spoke the Unicorn at the edge of her forest.

An iconic moment for the most beautiful movie I have ever seen, The Last Unicorn is book and movie that capture the essence of what fantasy really means with a hero's journey, love, and battle. The book is written by Peter S. Beagle, the movie follows the book quite literally in parts.

It is the story of the last unicorn in the world. She discovers from two hunters that are hunting in her forest that she is the last; later the butterfly tell her about the red bull of King Haggard has taken the unicorns. The unicorn plan to leave her home to search for her kin, while leaving her forest (and the animals within) unprotected from her magic. While traveling the unicorn learns that men cannot see her for what she is and is soon captured by Mommy Fortuna, a wandering carnival owner, who wants to exploit her. But there is help hidden Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival in form of the bumbling magician, Schmendrik. He frees the unicorn, who in turn frees all of the other miserable beasts of the midnight carnival, including one angry harpy.

Then the unicorn and Schmendrik travel into the forest where they meet Captain Cully, his band of rogues, and Molly Grue. There Schmendrik conjures up real magic and distracts Cully and his men, only Mollie isn't to be distracted and joins up with them. Once they get to King Haggard's kingdom, which is a miserable and forsaken land, they encounter the bull and Schmendrik uses real magic. They enter into the castle in plain sight, while they are force to work for Haggard as well as look for the missing unicorns. A romance later, a conversation with a cat, and a snarky skull lead them to the bull and the unicorn must face it, and make a choice.

I don't want to give a lot of spoilers, because this movie is best watched fresh and new, with as little preconceived notions, if possible. Sneaky, well maybe, but the story is really beautiful that it needs to be experienced. You can pick whichever version to prefer to, book or movie, but I leave you with this, "No unicorn was ever born with regret, but I do, I regret. And I thank you for that one..."

Many people have watched the movie growing up, which is where I first encountered The Last Unicorn. Later I read the book, and fell in love all over again. Seriously, go and check it out...

Oh, and for you graphic novel fans, The Last Unicorn was made into a graphic novel in April 2010. Also, amazingly beautiful.

Peter S. Beagle has written a number of other novels and short stories that are also wonderful, the short story collection The Line Between is a favourite.

What are your favourite fantasy, or sci-fi fantasy, or sci-fi stories, novels, movies? I have the top four (five): Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Princess Bride, The Neverending Story, and Stardust.

Now for the pantoum, Dear Readers.

Mission Unknown

Standing alone, along the edge
where she sees all, but  doesn't speak
there is no one to speak to
"Am I really the last?"

Where she sees all, but doesn't speak
this is her domain, but man has intruded
"Am I really the last?"
she asked in an echo to the men.

This is her domain, but man has intruded
speaking of red bulls and lost unicorns
she asked in an echo to the men
though they could not hear.

Speaking of red bulls and lost unicorns,
she asked the butterfly what he knew
though they could not hear
the questions that she asked.

She asked the butterfly what he knew
about the missing unicorns
the question that she asked
were left unanswered in fanciful song.

About the missing unicorns,
seek out King Haggard by the sea, but others
were left unanswered in fanciful song
One, Two, Three O'Leary...

Seek out King Haggard by the sea, but others
will find you in your travels
One, Two, Three O'Leary...
and away she goes into Man's Realm.

Will find you in your travels,
speak with the skull, My Dear,
and away she goes into Man's Realm
to the distant sea and the unknown.

Speak with the skull, My Dear.
There is no one to speak to
to the distant sea and the unknown,
standing alone, along the edge.

From the movie, The Last Unicorn

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