Willow’s World is a series that explores the fantasy realm first depicted in Lucasfilm’s 1988 adventure, Willow. From its diverse peoples and ranging landscapes to unusual creatures and mystical powers, the world of Willow Ufgood and his companions is a complex mixture of light, dark, and the bond between all living things.
In the original story of Willow, the landscape is a character in its own right. Having been rescued by a selfless midwife, the baby Elora Danan arrives at the farm of Willow Ufgood via the peaceful River Freen, a deliverance from evil courtesy of the wilderness itself. Composer James Horner infuses the fateful moment with serene choral music that reinforces this sense of the landscape participating in the story.
For the humble Nelwyns, their worldview is in part defined by their secluded, temperate valley and the river that runs through it. When the High Aldwin realizes that Elora Danan is in fact a Daikini, he tells his people that she must be taken “all the way across the great river,” a formidable task. Leaving the natural shelter of their valley is both a physical and psychological feat for a Nelwyn, but even outside the borders of their land, the smaller folk use the topography to their advantage, hiding from villainous Daikini amongst the trees and chaparral.
It would appear that Nelwyn culture as a whole is tied to the change of seasons and ecological wellbeing. Their festival at the beginning of the movie’s story is bedecked with greenery and flowers. Willow is sowing his fields at this time, implying it could be a springtime ritual, perhaps to invite a good omen for the autumn harvest. Most Nelwyns are superstitious after all. When Elora Danan arrives, a nervous Willow fears the villagers will see her as a bad omen and the harbinger of a flood or drought.