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Literature / The Silver Brumby

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Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumbynote  novel chronicles the life of Thowra, a wild foal whose father is killed by the vicious Brolga. In accordance with narrative tradition, Thowra eventually grows strong enough to form his own herd and defeat the Brolga...although not without gaining humans' attention. Further sequels followed Thowra's descendants and allies.

The series had two adaptations- a cartoon series and a film- and was rereleased in omnibus format during 2012.


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    Book Series 
  • Born During a Storm: Thowra was born during a storm. It's part of the reason he got his name, which is an Aboriginal word for "wind".
  • Elemental Motifs: Thowra is associated with the wind. He was named the Aboriginal word for "wind" because he was Born During a Storm, and his mother believed he would have to run as fast as the wind to avoid being hunted for his rare cream color.
  • Meaningful Name: The main characters are typically named for their speed (Thowra note , Baringa note , Lightning) or their appearance (Kunama note , Golden, Wurring note ).
  • Stray Animal Story: The Silver Brumby is about a feral horse.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Thowra and Baringa, while colts. Though not as bulky as other horses, they were fast and graceful enough to survive (if not win) every fight they got in. On top of that, Bel Bel taught them how to stealthily escape unwanted attention.

    Animated Series 
  • Aesop Amnesia: Arrow can't learn a lesson to save his life, prompting Thowra to save it for him. Constantly.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: Averted. The male horses are all drawn with visible sheaths.
  • Catchphrase: Wombat has three ("Outta my way, outta my way!", "That'll be right, that'll be right!", and "Typical, typical!"), and he passes them on to his son.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the very first episode, naturally. Thowra tries to warn Arrow about the Man who's after them, but Arrow scoffs and ignores his warning. Immediately after, the Man shows up and Arrow takes off, abandoning two of his friends to the Man in the process. This accurately displays his cowardly nature and constant putting of himself above others. Thowra also gets one by saving a foal who'd fallen into a fast flowing river, despite the colt being one of the many offspring of the Brolga.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Calling him evil is a bit of a stretch, but the Brolga is still hot-tempered, arrogant and rude. Even so, he cares a great deal for his herd and his daughters, Boon Boon in particular. In fact, it's only when he's talking to her that he seems the most gentle.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Man, who is always after Thowra and his group. He may be hellbent on capturing them, but the horses note that the difference between him and the trappers they meet later on is that the Man would never dream of killing a brumby, and almost never uses his gun. In contrast, the trappers try to shoot and kill anything that moves solely for sport.
  • Faking the Dead: How Thowra finally gets the Man to stop chasing him. He jumps over a ledge when the Man corners him, leaving the latter to believe he'd jumped to his death. Since the fog was heavy, he could not see that Thowra landed safe and sound down below. Since then, the Man believes that any glimpses he catches of Thowra are just his ghost, and the horse intends to keep it that way.
  • Good Feels Good: One episode starts with Benni explaining the nature of this trope.
    Benni: It's a funny thing about doing something good or something kind. You do it because it feels right, it's proper. It's not so much what's expected, but what you want to do.
  • History Repeats: It's implied near the end of the series that Yarraman, Thowra's father, was "twice as old" as the Brolga at the time of his defeat. Now here comes Thowra, who's half the Brolga's age and intent on taking back his father's throne. The Brolga is not pleased when Aranda points this out to him.
  • Motor Mouth: The emus never stop talking and often interrupt each other while doing it.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: It turns out that the Old Prospector has as little patience for the hunters and trappers as the animals do. Benni proudly considers the man to be one of them.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Mopoke speaks in rhyme all the time.
  • The Mentor: Benni the kangaroo is something like this to Thowra.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Arrow, again.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After being a major character in season 1, Storm suddenly disappears for the rest of the series.

    Live-Action Film 
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Elyne takes an injured joey from the wild so she can tend to him, but as he heals she orders her daughter to keep him outside; if the joey doesn't get accustomed to the cold, he'll never survive an Australian winter. When they release him back into the bush, they also shoo him away, to make him develop a proper fear of humans (who might kill and eat him).
  • Hope Spot: Golden- an extremely expensive mare- comes back to the man who owned her. She gives birth not long after, providing him with a similarly valuable foal. Then Thowra takes Golden again. At which point the man, realizing his work has been All for Nothing, breaks down screaming in the mud.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: There's a shot of a foal starving to death in the snow, establishing the brumbies' constant, imperfect struggle to survive.