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Literature / Gorgo the Ogre

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Gorgo the Ogre (in original "Gorgo l'Orco") is an italian modern Fairy Tale, found in a series of issues about fairy tales of all sorts called "I Raccontastorie" (The Storytellers), which ran in the eighties and included audio tapes along with the stories. A rather short and simple fairy tale which, however, has many unusual elements, making it similar to a fantasy novel for children compared to other fairy tales.

The story opens by introducing the little Ogre Gorgo, who lives with his parents in the village of the Red Ogres. In order to fully reach adulthood, a Red Ogre must show his worth by killing a monster, but Gorgo is too kind and merciful to do so, and instead make friends with an old, wise dragon named Zago. When his father finds out, he chases him from his house. Gorgo is sheltered by Zago, who tells him that he could become a Golden Ogre, a type of wise, just and peaceful ogres who only kill when they have no other choice, but in order to do so he has to perform an act of incredible bravery: slay the fearsome Slobbering Monster who lives in a mountain far away and that has killed countless ogres and dragons alike. Armed with his father's stolen sword, Gorgo reaches the monster's lair with Zago's help and faces the creature in its nest. Thanks to his quick thinking he's able to stab the monster's heart and kill it, and after he's flushed outside the lair he's greeted by Zago, who reveals to him that now he has become a Golden Ogre for his brave and selfless act.

A sequel, "Gorgo the Golden Ogre", picks up the story from where it was left: Zago and Gorgo return home, only to find it besieged by the vile Black Ogres. The old dragon manages to defeat the invaders but nearly dies for the effort. The village wizard, Borgo, reveals that only the legendary Sun Stones may heal Zago, but they have all been seized by the Black Ogres long ago. With the help of his father, Borgo and a little creature called Slurm, Gorgo must venture forth to reach the citadel of the Black Ogres in order to recover the Sun Stones from the despicable King of the Black Ogres in order to save his friend.

In the Christmas issue of 1984, another short story dedicated to Gorgo has been published: because of a terrible illness, the Red Ogres risk to miss the special Christmas Feast, and so it's up to Gorgo, Zago and the little Slurm to recover the ingredients to cure the ogres... even if they have to confront the voracious Giant to get them!

Gorgo the Ogre contains examples of:

  • All-Loving Hero: Gorgo, after becoming a Golden Ogre, states that he can't bring himself to hate anyone, not even the despicable Black Ogres.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Black Ogres are a twisted, demonic bunch. Not a single of them shows redeeming qualities.
  • Bad Boss: The King of the Black Ogres. His Establishing Character Moment has him grabbing the already terrified henchmen who brought him Gorgo and his father as prisoners to kill and toss him from the window. You know someone's a Bad Boss when he kills his subjects when they do the right thing.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: During the journey to the city of the Black Ogres, Gorgo treats the baby Slurm nicely, and eventually the little thing grows proud of him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Twice in the second story. The first is when Gorgo and Zago arrives just in time to stop the marauding Black Ogres from destroying their village, and the second is when Borgo shows up in time to save Gorgo's father, bringing bat-frogs with him so that everyone can escape, and even tells Gorgo how to use the Sun Stones.
  • Big Eater: The Christmas Feast for the Red Ogres consist in a 2 days long banquet followed by a dive in a giant red pudding.
  • Black Comedy: When the Black Ogre's army is incinerated by Zago, the narrator describes the sound as if "thousands and thousands of sizzling sausages were tossed in the open flame at the same time".
  • Blob Monster: The Slobbering Monster is a colossal behemoth made of slime and covered in red eyes and tentacles, with his heart as its only weak spot. Not only it feeds on Ogres and Dragons with ease, but its lair is nearly impossible to reach, as the entrance is too small for an adult ogre and too high to be reached without the help of a dragon. The King of the Black Ogres is one too, though smaller and much nastier.
  • Blood Knight: Red Ogres become adult by killing monsters, and Gorgo's father enjoys slaying dragons whenever he can. He eventually drop this habit in the second story.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Red Ogres are boisterous and prone to violence but ultimately they are nice fellows, Gorgo as a innocent child is pink, but when he becomes a Golden Ogre he's more virtuous and brave. Finally, Black Ogres are always evil and treacherous.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Slobbering Monster tries to whip Gorgo with his tentacles. The King of the Black Ogres has a disgusting variation in the form of ten spidery fingers that come from the boils on his body.
  • Cool Old Guy: Zago the Dragon is a wise collector of books and strange things and a good parental figure and friend for Gorgo. He's also still capable of performing badass actions if required.
  • Cool Sword: Gorgo uses his father's own sword to fight and kill the Slobbering Monster.
  • Covered in Gunge: Since he fell into the beast while piercing its heart, Gorgo ends up covered in green slime after killing the Slobbering Monster. Upon cleaning the gunge he realize he's become a Golden Ogre.
  • Cowardly Lion: Borgo in the second story is prone to doubting his own skills and even considers leaving Gorgo and his father in the citadel of the Black Ogres, but ultimately stays and fight. See Rule of Three below.
  • David Versus Goliath: Gorgo, an ogre child no bigger than a human kid of the same age, pitted against a monster the size of a small lake.
  • Destination Defenestration: The King of the Black Ogres has a penchant for tossing whoever he likes from the nearby windows at the slightest provocation.
  • Disintegrator Ray: This is how the Sun Stones are used as a weapon: if all nine of them are placed on a special metal triangle said device can shoot a beam of light that leaves nothing of the victim, save for a golden gleam.
  • The Dreaded: Even the Black Ogres themselves soil their pants in front of their King. We can't really blame them.
  • Dub Name Change: In the English adaptation, Grogo and Zogo's names are changed to Grogre the Orge and Zagon the Dragon.
  • Dumb Muscle: Gorgo's father is incredibly strong, but not very smart.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The town of the Black Ogres is composed of a series of creepy towers connected to each other with bridges.
  • Extreme Omnivore: As Zago notes, Giants will eat anything. In fact, the ingredients they need for the antidote are all inside the Giant's belly.
  • Fantastic Racism: Gorgo's father is not very happy to learn that his son is making friends with a dragon. He eventually mellows out when said dragon saves the village.
    Gorgo's Father: "We're supposed to slay dragons, not to pay them a visit!"
  • Giant Food: The final course of the Christmas Feast is a red pudding so big that all the villagers can dive into it.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Golden Ogres, who are virtuous and just like their appearence would suggest.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The King is reduced to gleaming dust by his own Sun Stones thanks to Gorgo's efforts.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: As seen in picture, Gorgo's father easily dwarfs his wife.
  • The Hero's Journey: In the first story, Gorgo starts as a child, ventures forth in a far and distant land helped by his mentor and has to take on and kill a dangerous monster who no one has ever defeated before. Thanks to the cleverness and courage showed in this trial, he's rewarded and becomes a Golden Ogre, just like he wanted, learning the importance of bravery and selflessness.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Between Gorgo, a child, and Zago, and old dragon.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gorgo's father is antagonistic in the first story, but when he reappears in the second after berating his son for leaving (he didn't recognize Gorgo) he claims that, nevertheless, he miss him and wish him to return. The narrator makes him sound like he trying to repress tears in that moment.
  • Keystone Army: Averted with the Black Ogres: even after their King's death they still try to kill and chase Gorgo.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Zago deals with the giant invading army of bat-frog riding Black Ogres.
  • MacGuffin: The Sun Stones, which can cure Zago and save his life.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Narrowly avoided by Zago, who risks his life after using the last of his strength to destroy the enemy ogres.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Bat-Frogs resembles huge frogs with bat wings, and are used by the Black Ogres as mounts.
  • Multiple Head Case: The Black Ogre who captures Gorgo and his father in the town has two heads, and speaks with both of them at the same time.
  • No Name Given: Yes, in case you haven't noticed, the only characters who get names are Gorgo, Zago and Borgo.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Because of the Slobbering Monster, the valley around its mountain is a barren wasteland. After its demise, Zago points out that soon flowers and plant will flourish again.
  • One-Man Army: Zago alone manages to wipe out a whole army of enemies.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Zago is a yellow bespectacled dragon who's akin to the traditional fairy tale wizard, collecting books and exotic items and serving as a mentor for the hero. Red Dragons are mentioned, and Gorgo's father really likes to kill them.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: The Giant resembles a grotesque humanoid hippo with an enormous mouth. Giants live in the purple mountains, where the dig lairs by eating through the stone. They also eat everything, but the poisonous sting of a Slurm can put them to sleep.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Slurms are creatures allied with the Black Ogres, though a whelp ends up helping the heroes. They have green, oval bodies with six legs and two tentacles and a round head on the top with a single eye and a single sting.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Red Ogres resembles the traditional Ogre, though they have green horns, nails and teeth, and Red Ogresses have three eyes, and tend to be likeable if boisterous. Golden Ogres are a noble and brave kind who only kill if there's no other choice, and tend to be smarter. Black Ogres are evil, twisted beings which comes in all shapes and sizes, with their King being a demonic, blob-like cyclops covered in boils.
  • Papa Wolf: Gorgo's father is already seething with rage when they're captured by the Black Ogres, but he really explodes when the King tries to kill Gorgo along with the baby Slurm and attacks him. He's thrown out of the window for his trouble, but is rescued by Borgo.
  • The Power of Hate: The King claims that this is what allows him to use the Sun Stones, as there's no one else with so much hate as himself. Not really hard to believe.
  • The Power of Love: As the King makes the above mentioned boast, Borgo retorts that the power of love can also make the stone work. In fact, thanks to his love and his desire to protect his father and friends, Gorgo is able to use the Sun Stones to obliterate the evil king.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: The King of the Black Ogres: when Gorgo asks him why he gratuitously killed one of his own henchmen in cold blood, he angrily replies that he can do what he wants because he's the king. He comes out as a sadistic, childish bastard in the end, capable of destroying lives on a whim.
  • Rule of Three: Borgo's Cowardly Lion monologue is repeated three times over the course of the story, with the last one lampshaded by Gorgo himself.
    Borgo:"Should I do this? Or maybe not? Yes? No?.... Allright, allright, allright!"
  • Shock and Awe: Gorgo's father shoots lightnings from his horns whenever he's angry.
  • Tentacle Rope: The Slurm use their tentacles to bind Gorgo and his Father.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: According to Zago, Golden Ogres are not allowed to take lives. They can only kill if there's no other way around and for a selfless reason.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The story is rather light, but the King of the Black Ogres is truly a creepy, disturbing villain in both terms of physical appearence (think of a shapeless, boil-covered blob with a moving red eye, a size-shifting mouth and tentacles resembling spider limbs bursting from his own boils) and behaviour, as described above.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Gorgo decides to trust the little baby Slurm and, in order to reach the city of the Black Ogres, jump from a cliff in the mouth of a colossal toad-like monster. Turns out it's the correct thing to do, as the monster envelops whoever it eats in floating bubbles which he then blows toward the citadel, hence granting access.
  • Voice of the Legion: The two-headed Black Ogre speaks with a double voice.
  • Walking Wasteland: The Slobbering Monster, due to the trails of slime he leaves behind, not to mention the half-digested skeletons.
  • With Catlike Tread: While climbing a stone bridge over the chasm where the Slobbering Monster lives, Gorgo ends up making a lot of noise due to his sword hitting the stone floor, which wakes the monster up.
  • Women Are Wiser: Gorgo's mother, as mentioned by the narrator.
    Narrator: "(Gorgo's Mother) was much smarter than Gorgo's Father, perhaps because, like all the Red Ogresses, she had three eyes, while the male Ogres only had two."