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Thanks for the first new Ramble in a year, Greg. I really enjoyed reading the "Hound of Ulster" one, and hope that this is the first of many more to come in the last couple of months of 2004; I've been eagerly awaiting the rambles for the last 22 episodes of "Gargoyles" that you worked on, after getting the rambles for the first 44.
I only saw the first half of the episode the first time that it aired (I was in the middle of a move from the suburbs to the Central West End of St. Louis in early 1996, and so missed the end due to working on the move with my family). And by the time that I got to see the whole thing through, I'd already seen "The Gathering", complete with the Banshee's fate at the hands of Oberon. Not that it hurt things that much. Since then, I watch my taped version of it regularly each St. Patrick's Day, as a holiday tradition. The big pity is that I can no longer remember my initial response to it (such as whether I thought that Molly was a person independent of the Banshee whom the Banshee merely masqueraded as once or twice, or whether they were one and the same). Sorry about that.
I was amused to discover that you'd originally thought of calling this one "A Bronx Tail" in light of how the Goliath Chronicles used that title later on. (I recall that they also used that title in the "Gargoyles" comic book series, at one point.)
I honestly hadn't thought of the Lassie connection with Bronx until you mentioned it (but then, I know Lassie more by reputation). (I did catch the Wizard of Oz quotes right away, though.)
I'm a bit puzzled by your mention of a certain "Liscoo". Is that the name of Rory's hometown (if so, it obviously didn't make it into the dialogue of the completed episode)?
You were correct in not using the term "Barghest" for that episode, since it's indeed linked to northern England (those viewers who were already aware of the discrepancy from the original Cuchulain legend would have let you have it even more if the term "Barghest" had gotten into an Irish story!). But I like the notion of associating gargoyle beasts with the "black dogs" of Britain and Ireland. The "black dogs" of British and Irish folklore do match gargoyle beasts; they're generally nocturnal, are awe-inspiring creatures that can strike fear into people's hearts, and yet often appear in the role of protectors, despite their fearsome quality. So Bronx playing the role of one of them works.
I find the "dwarves made my shoes" line appropriate, since one of the most famous mythical denizens of Ireland is the leprechaun, and leprechauns are dwarflike shoemakers. (Was that line intended as a direct reference to leprechauns, or is it just another neat coincidence?)
(Another piece of trivia: the Cromm-Cruach - the Banshee's "death-worm" form - or, more precisely, its namesake in Irish mythology, was the source for the name of Crom, the god worshipped by - or, more accurately, sworn by - Conan the Barbarian. Robert E. Howard, the man who originally created Conan, had the habit of borrowing almost all of his names from actual legend and ancient history.)
I'd thought myself (after a couple of showings of the episode, though not right away) that there is a certain similarity between Rory/Cuchulain and the Mighty Thor of Marvel Comics (both modern-day people who become "real" mythical figures after discovering a stick that transforms into the mythical figure's traditional weapon). Hopefully you'll be able to solve it if you ever bring the series back long enough for Rory to show up again.
And, yep, the Banshee did pass up the opportunity to mesmerize her prisoners. (She also showed that annoying tendency that so many interrogators have of "I've already made up my mind about whether you're innocent or guilty, so all the evidence that you're innocent won't mean a thing to me." A bit like Nokkar later on in "Sentinel", in fact.)
I share your delight in Rory's dad's lack of enthusiasm at seeing Molly. I also enjoy the parts where Rory warms to Bronx (particularly where he actually rides him).
And, yep, it wound up being mainly Rory's episode - but Bronx still got a big role in it.
I have long term plans for more on Rory, Banshee and even--
Oh no, it's the SLG SPOILER POLICE!
"Damn it, Weisman! Save SOME surprises for the comic book!! Don't make us punish you ... again!"