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Blaise writes...

THE HOUND OF ULSTER

At last!! I say that both because it's a new ramble, and I'm finally able to add my own. I'll play catch up with your other additions over the weekend.

When I first saw this episode, both the "Previously on" segment and the title indicated that Bronx would get some exposure. I wasn't sure HOW since there's only so much you can do with a dog (or even a dog-like beast) without giving them some anthropomorphic qualities. Consequently, I think it makes since that Rory Dugan became the protagonist.
And yet, that in itself is unique. Here we have a non-regular being the main character of the episode--hightlighted with that wonderful "hero-shot" where the camera circles around Rory's face (well done bit of animation, that). I mean, I don't know of too many other series that do that (well, maybe there were some old "Batman: TAS" episodes that seemed to focus more on the villains, but they're the VILLAINS!)
I love Molly's character design--the hair-style, the eyes, the three belts (in technicolor!) around her waist.
Rory's vision of Crom Cruoch really threw me the first time I saw it. Then I completely forgot about it until the Banshee transformed at the end.

BTW, time out here to say kudos to the voice work all around. Colm Meaney's (sp?) guest turn was great. Scott Cleverdon did excellent work (and HE added the battle cry?! I love that thing!). And as for Sheena Easton, hey do I really need to say anything?
Loved the Banshee's keening! I have to wonder though...it seems to me that gargoyles have a stronger sense of hearing than humans, yet the Banshee's cry is apparantly more fatal to humans.

Anyway, I was a little surprised at our heroes sinking into the bog right off. Very tense the first time you see it, and a nice little character bit for Goliath--he turns from Elisa to try and save his daughter, but can't and turns back to find Elisa has already sunk beneath the surface. For a guy so big on protecting his loved ones that must have been a truly hellish moment.

But Bronx escapes and we get our first glimpse of the Banshee.

Rory's discussion with his Dad is interesting to me, mostly in how pessimistic and cynical Rory acts. One line of his that I always like (even if I don't agree with it): "There are no heroes anymore! Only villains! And they've got us all beat." Sometimes it's very easy to think that.

Our main heroes wake up trapped in the Cairn, and Goliath says that "a whole clan of gargoyles could not batter down these walls." That line always struck me for some reason.
A bit disconcerting that Elisa's muddy in this scene and clean in the next, but "meh".
And although Cuchullan's remains would have been nice, I don't really miss it (unlike the whole Anubis thing). Besides, how much of an unmummified corpse would be left after 2,000 years?

Rory meets Bronx and between the pooch's outlandish appearance and the legends of his father, Rory reacts in a perfectly reasonable way...he runs like hell. And falls off a cliff (looking at it from the wide shot, I can't help but think it's a miracle he survived).

BTW, the little memo you posted finally clears up why Bronx singled out Rory--the Banshee's scent. Yet Bronx can still sense that Rory's not an enemy.

The Banshee talks with our "main heroes." I can never stop noticing her rather exaggerated gestures. She must be a bit of a drama queen. I like her "ghost" form, though.
The Banshee does have that one character trait (which Todd has already mentioned) that annoys me to no end: she does not even consider the possibility that her prisoners might be telling the truth. And as you pointed out she could have just mesmerized it out of them (no fuss, no muss), which makes her behavior even more inexcusable.

After the Banshee hears Bronx and splits, and Angela says that Bronx will save them (she's got more faith in her pooch than I've ever had in any of mine, I'll admit), the camera starts to briefly zoom in before cutting to the next scene. I'm always wondering what got cut, if anything.

When Molly transformed into the Banshee...I figured they were both one and the same. At least, until Molly appeared in Rory's house the next day and said she'd go with him to the Cairn because she loved him. THAT cast some doubt in my mind.

"Be still little mortal and come quietly with me, into the dark." That line still sends my dirty little mind reeling with possibilities. ;-)

I like Mr. Dugan's attitude towards his son's visions: he may not entirely believe in them, but he's not about to go tempting fate in regards to them, either.

A little animation bit I only really started noticing after you mentioned exploring more of the relationship between Rory and Molly--when Rory strides down the hill towards the Cairn, Molly gets a sad/worried look on her face. Rory isn't looking at her so she doesn't have to act, but it's still there. It's more than just avoiding an old enemy that makes her want to keep Rory in the dark.

I love the voice acting in the Cairn--as the two characters talk, a bit more of each's "other" starts to creep into their speech.
I love the whole "Gae Bolga" scene.

"Skills may rust indeed, but true friendship stays bright." Y'know, because of the accent, I didn't understand what he was actually saying there for YEARS!

I always noticed how you guys had Goliath and Angela, the usual heavy hitters, get knocked away by Crom Cruach the instant they try to join the battle. Makes sense--this was Rory and Bronx's show!

"And there's no kind of training schemes for this job, I'll wager." Nope, and no pay either! Just ask Spider-man!
On the "Thor" subject, I never knew that much about Thor (either comic or mythology) until a bit after GARGOYLES, so for me this was fairly fresh.

Dog's (or gargoyle beasts) can look smug! I've seen it myself!

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
I always thought the "Previously on" segment for this episode felt awkward towards its end--your ramble helps clear that up.

One thing that struck me this time out was the Banshee's character design, especially in the face. It can move from beautiful to rather corpse-like.

Yes Cuchullan was the "Hound of Ulster," but only because he killed the original hound and vowed to act in its place until a new one was raised. Who's to say these hounds weren't gargoyle beasts?

Great ramble!

Greg responds...

Those "Hounds" were indeed Gargoyle Beasts in the Gargoyles Universe, and as I've learned more about the legend SINCE doing the episode, it seems to me that as Cu Chullain was replacing the "Hound" he killed, he would also be raising and training a new "Hound" to eventually take his place. That, to his mind, was the Hound of Ulster that he recognized in Bronx.

Or that's my current theory anyway.

Response recorded on August 28, 2006

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matt writes...

ok, i really had to research the archives to figure all this out, but that (and the long wait) will be worth it to satisfy my curiosity.

ok, heres some things you've said in the archives (correct any of these if i've gotten them wrong or they have changed):
-1 year in Avalon is 24 years in the real world, so 10 years on Avalon is 240 years in the real world.
-Gargoyle Beasts are mature by age 2 and can mate and lay an egg 10 years after they were hatched.
-besides Boudicca, there is another female and a male beast among the Avalon Clan and they are mates.
-the Avalon Clan hatched in 1078.

1. so, ten years after the Avalon Clan hatched (this would be the year 1318 in the real world) the gargoyle beast pair would have been old enough and in sync with the natural gargoyle cycle to mate and lay an egg, is that correct?

2. if an egg was laid in Avalon in 1318, then ten years later on Avalon in the year 1558 the egg would be in sync with the natural cycle and again and would hatch, is that correct?

3. then ten years later on Avalon, which would be 1798 the gargoyle pair would be in sync again to mate and lay an egg, is that correct?

4 so, just to be clear, when Goliath, Elisa and Bronx arrive on Avalon, not only should there be Boudicca, and the other two beasts, but there should also be the first now mature pup of the beast pair and their second egg, waiting to hatch in 2038. is that correct?

i know the math is kinda crazy, but the way i figured all this out was by saying 10 years on Avalon is 240 years in the real world and just adding from there so:

1078 real world- eggs hatch
+240 (10 years on Avalon)
1318 real world- gargoyle beasts mate and lay egg
+240 (10 years on Avalon)
1558 real world- egg hatches
+240 (10 years on Avalon)
1798 real world- beasts mate again
+240 (10 years on Avalon)
2038 real world- second egg hatches

is all this right? its entirely possible, despite my checking, that i could've goofed up somewhere, so please correct me if i'm wrong on anything.

thanks Greg!

Greg responds...

Ugh. God, you're really going to make me do the math, aren't you? Let's start by saying that I'm not confirming that any of this happened. I'm just striving to address your calculations.

1. The natural gargoyle cycle would dictate that an egg would not be layed until 1328. Eggs are layed on even decades. They hatch on odd decades.

2. An egg layed on Avalon in 1328 would hatch in 1578.

3. Moving forward, the next egg would be lain in in 1828.

4. That egg would be waiting to hatch in 2078. Nevertheless, by your calculations, when Goliath and Elisa first arrived on Avalon, there should indeed be a pup that hatched in 1578 and an egg that was laid in 1828.

Response recorded on November 28, 2005

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WingedBeast writes...

I've got a number of questions about Gargbeasts and their relation to the Clan. It always seemed to me that the Gargoyles had a deeper connection to their Gargbeasts than we humans tend to have with our "lesser" beasts. (Though, where dogs are concerned, I don't get how a creature that is naturally caring and loyal can be considered lesser to anything.)

1. Are Garg-Beasts considered siblings, parents, and sons/daughters by the rest of the Gargoyles in a clan? Would Goliath consider Bronx a Rookery Son and the Trio consider him a Rookery Brother?

2. Do GargBeasts and Gargoyles nurse each others offspring? (Evolutionarily, I can see the advantage in this, as it provides a greater variety of anti-bodies to the hatchlings.)

3. While I have serious doubts that a Gargbeast can ever become a Clan leader, are they ever in positions of authority or rank over the sentient Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

1. No. There is an awareness that Beasts are a separate species. But I do believe that the bond between Gargoyles and Beasts is stronger, and more akin to blood relation than the bond between humans and their pets. Beasts are not considered pets. They do not have "masters". The relationship is closer to one of equals than of master/pet. Grok?

2. I don't think so. But I'll admit I haven't given this much thought.

3. I won't say 'never'. But it doesn't seem likely. Though you should keep in mind that typical gargoyle "government" isn't exactly ripe with bureaucracy. There is the Leader and the Second. And that is all. Beasts ARE warriors. And on that score, Bronx, for example, is considered an equal to Lex or Broadway or Hudson or Angela. Only Goliath as Leader and Brooklyn as Second have actual authority over Bronx and the others. Now, keep in mind, one of the other Gargoyles might tell Bronx to do something in the heat of the moment. Or ask him to come somewhere or refuse to let him go along. But that's not authority. That's just life. Hudson might likewise tell Lexington to do something in the heat of the moment. Or ask him to come somewhere or refuse to let him go along, etc.

Good questions.

Response recorded on November 08, 2005

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Storyseeker writes...

With regards to the character gargbeast Boadicea... I assume you named her after the queen of the ancient Britains? If so then you pronounced her name wrong. It came out as Bow-dee-ca, whereas the real queens name was Bow-da-cea.

Greg responds...

Your phonetic spelling leaves a little to be desired in terms of clarity, but thanks for trying to help.

Response recorded on April 25, 2005

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matt writes...

Gargoyle Beasts

ok, i've been wondering about this for a long time. you've established the Gargoyle reproductive cycle and how it works and i must say its a really well constructed system. its great how a couple produces their last egg and in the following rookery their first child has its first child. works out very well.

on the other hand, you havn't given as much information on how the Gargoyle beast reproductive cycle works. you've said that Gargoyle beasts can produce children after only one generation has passed. for instance, you said that even though Bronx hatched in the rookery right before Angela's he can already mate, and Boudicca is old enough to mate with Bronx. you've also said that Gargoyle beasts can not only start breeding sooner, but also produce more than three offspring as Gargoyles do. and obviously, Gargoyle beasts have pups in the same 20 year intervals.

so my questions are, what is the Gargoyle Beast breeding cycle? how many offspring does a typical Gargoyle Beast pair produce if conditions are normal and healthy? is a pair still birthing pups in the same rookery as their older children are?

thanks alot Greg!

Greg responds...

I think you've more or lessed gleaned the short answer, here.

Beasts mature faster than Gargoyles do. But the cycle and life span are exactly the same. Thus a Beast couple is capable, generally of having one more egg than a gargoyle couple born at the same time would be.

That is, they are capable of having an egg in the cycle immediately following their own hatching.

In any case, I think that's right. I don't seem to have the brainpower at the moment to double check all the math.

Response recorded on February 03, 2005

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Anonymous writes...

Prior to the rise of humanity, did gargoyles ever develop agriculture or animal husbandry on their own?

Greg responds...

Gargoyle Beasts were domesticated.

Response recorded on October 08, 2004

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Arystella writes...

You know, Bronx' eyes have always looked weird to me.
Why are they always white? He's not always angry, I know that.
Just kinda bugged me, thats all.
:-)

Greg responds...

Get over it. It's the way Garg beasts are.

Response recorded on March 09, 2004

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matt writes...

have the other two garg beast of the Avalon Clan besides Boidikka had a hatchling already as of "Avalon"?

Greg responds...

I don't know. I'd have to work the numbers.

Response recorded on January 13, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is, admittedly, a slightly silly question, but - does the humility spell that the Roman Magus put on the gargoyle race apply to gargoyle beasts as well, or exclusively to gargoyles? (Admittedly, it's likely to be a moot question, since I've never seen any sign of gargoyle beasts wearing clothes - and I certainly wouldn't advise trying to dress up Bronx in anything).

Greg responds...

Hmmm...

I guess it might apply to a collar or even a leash, but that would have to come from a beast who really liked his collar.

Response recorded on December 05, 2003

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Rick Maloney writes...

What happened to Boudicca after Oberon went all jolly blue giant in 'The Gathering: Part One'? I mean, when he phased out of human form, he just left her there! Wouldn't someone notice a big, olive drab gargoyle lounging about the street?

Greg responds...

I assume he sent her back to Avalon. Do you have any reason to assume he didn't?

Response recorded on August 27, 2003


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