It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 years since The Owl House first premiered on Disney Channel. The pandemic has morphed the passage of time into a singular mass of anxious trauma that we’re all just basking in for eternity – but at least we got some cute cartoons out of it.
Dana Terrace crafted a universe that was beautiful, charming, and oddly macabre for a show aimed at younger audiences. The characters of Luz Noceda, Amity Blight, and Eda the Owl Lady were embraced by a community that continues to grow and advocate for a show that was met with an unfortunate early cancellation, yet another byproduct of the global climate right now. It sucks that this magical adventure will be cut short, but that doesn’t take away from everything it managed to achieve and how – alongside the likes of Amphibia and Ghost and Molly McGee – it remains one of the strongest assets in Disney’s animated repertoire.
As the show celebrates its second anniversary I want to look back on its brightest sparks, the steps it has taken for LGBTQ+ representation in children’s animation, and how the fandom continues to grow and reflect the caring attitude at the centre of the show’s ethos. We’ve also done plenty of worthwhile analysis and interviews surrounding the show, so forgive me for giving those a cheeky plug while I’m at it. Us weirdos have to stick together, so let’s dive in.
Luz Noceda is the crux of The Owl House. Like many heroines in contemporary animation, she is depicted as an outsider who fears she doesn’t belong due to eccentricities which are ultimately what make her so special. She seeks refuge from a school and family life who wish to put her into a boring ol’ box. It’s ironic then, that a realm as outlandish and magical as The Boiling Isles is where she first finds a place of belonging. A place to find friends, love, and a purpose in life that goes beyond being the weird kid in class.
Yet the show doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to the consequences of abandonment. Luz left her home and mother behind, and when this truth comes to light she must deal with the emotional turmoil that surfaces in the face of loss and disappointment. The final frame of the show before it went on hiatus showcased Luz in a state of anxiety, returning to The Boiling Isles after a tearful farewell to her mother. She doesn’t know how to return home, or explain the magnitude of her predicament to those who care for her. The time will come for her to leave this escape from reality to behind, and we ain’t ready for it.
It has also become a bastion of queer rebellion, with Amity Blight standing up against her parents to be who she truly wants to be. While this journey never explicitly references her sexuality, going against the irrational wishes of your parents to be who you want to be, whether it be through dying your hair or admitting feelings to a crush, is a striking statement that assures young viewers that they aren’t alone. Speaking up can be difficult, and almost impossible for some, but knowing that you aren’t alone in the world and will eventually find a place where people care about you means so much. The road of acceptance and fighting for what you believe in will always be difficult, but the destination is worthwhile.
The Owl House makes the smart decision to reside in a world without homophobia, choosing against transplanting our own societal shortcomings into a universe that is designed to be wholesome and welcoming. While confronting our trauma is often worthwhile in the media we love, sometimes it means so much to have that cast aside in favour of something more positive. We’ve seen so many animated shows embrace LGBTQ+ characters in recent years, and The Owl House feels like both the culmination of that progress and an exciting glimpse into the future. I came to this show after being obsessed with She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, a show which concluded with a canonical lesbian romance that still feels hard to believe. Yet it happened, and Lumity builds upon that and so much more.
It isn’t a case of will they or won’t they right up until the finale. Before the second season’s first half had even come to a close, the romantic relationship between Luz and Amity was made canon for all to see – and it even happened during an episode that many expected to be filled with cutesy filler. We were wrong, and their confession is messy, cute, and reminiscent of the butterflies associated with young love. They’re just a couple of teenagers smitten with one another, and even in a magical world it’s depicted with such loving honesty.
I love how we’re able to see their relationship develop beyond the confession too, the circumstances behind it likely set to be a major sticking point of the episodes and seasons to come. They make each other better people, and that’s what love is all about.
Characters like Raine Whispers bring non-binary representation to the forefront in a way that is refreshingly normalised. It is simply who they are, and The Owl House doesn’t choose to single out sexuality or gender to make a statement because it doesn’t need to do. Young viewers are smart enough to realise that the world is filled with different sexualities, genders, and identities, and will grow to accept them as a fact of life when they’re presented in a show like this as positive, reinforced by characters as a value to be respected and cherished. I’ve said it before, but I couldn’t dream of having media like this as a kid, and I’m so glad the new generation does. Each piece of progress builds to something more.
I’m not sure where The Owl House will go from here, or what we can expect from its narrative given the shortened third season has so much ground left to cover. But I’m so excited, and the show has so much talent behind it across the production team that I’m certain fans won’t be disappointed. If anything, I’m crossing my fingers it will continue to break new ground and result in more stories like this being told in the mainstream.
Be sure to check our interviews with Avi Roque, Cissy Jones, and Ricky Cometa where we delve deep into the characters of Raine Whispers, Lilith Clawthorne, and how The Owl House was pieced together from an artistic perspective. Plenty more gay witch content to come in future too!
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