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Western Animation / Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is a 2010 animated film adaptation of Guardians of Ga'Hoole, a series of children's fantasy novels, directed by Zack Snyder and featuring the voices of Jim Sturgess, Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Sam Neill, Helen Mirren, and Joel Edgerton, among others.

The story follows an owl named Soren (Sturgess). He and his brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), are kidnapped by evil owls and taken to a sinister realm called St. Aegolius's, where Kludd is recruited into their Doom Troops and Soren is put to work in a massive owl sweatshop putting together pieces of a superweapon. At St. Aegolius's, a villain named Metalbeak (Edgerton) is building up his forces, an army called the Pure Ones, with the intent of conquering the world of owls.

Soren and a friendly elf owl (Barclay) he meets escape and go on a quest to find the Tree of Ga'Hoole, the legendary home of a race of warriors: the Guardians, who are sworn to fight evil.


In theaters and on home video, the film was accompanied by an original CGI Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoon; "Fur of Flying".

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Jutt and Jatt. Especially jarring as they were humorless monsters in the book.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Played with with Kludd. While he is very much a villain by the end of the movie, in the beginning he isn't that bad, opposed to his book counterpart, who may have literally hatched out evil. In the beginning of The Capture he already hated Soren the moment his brother hatched, and was quite mean to him, and deliberately pushes Soren out of the hollow in hopes of killing him. Wherein the film, he's a young owl who doesn't really enjoy legends, is a bit misguided in his thinking of Tyto "superiority", and is jealous of his brother. He has better relationships with his siblings; actually being concerned about Eglantine getting "day-mares", and having a bit more friendlier rivalry with Soren. Soren even teases Kludd several times and vice versa, and Kludd has been nice enough for Soren to care for him, unlike in the beginning of the books. Indeed, perhaps if this Kludd was never subjected to the Pure Ones wrath or has made it to the Great Tree, he probably would have grown up a more decent owl. It's even implied that the only reason he stayed with the Pure Ones in the first place is because he's fallen in love with Nyra as opposed to falling for the view of Tyto supremacy.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Most noticeable with the Band.
  • Adapted Out: Skench, Spoorn and darn near half the St. Aggie's owls are removed and replaced with the Pure Ones. In the book, the Pure Ones do end up occupying St. Aggie's, but only after driving its current occupants out.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Kludd.
  • Angrish: Nyra does a couple of these.
  • Anything but That!:
    Digger: Oh no! Not the lute!
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Of all the Guardians in the film, only Allomere is referred to as "Lord" [name of Guardian here].
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Owls are unable to move their pupils, which is why they can rotate their heads almost 360 degrees.
    • Barn owls have dark eye irises, in the movie they are contrasting with pupils for expression.
    • Queen Barran and Marella are noticeably smaller than their mates. In reality, female owls are bigger than males (as is the case with most birds of prey).
    • Soren is noticeably smaller than his parents, unlike real fully fledged owls.
    • Long eared and Boreal owls are too large in the movie.
    • Among owlets of St.Aggie and Tree are white ones supposed to be Snowy owls, in reality chicks of this species are grey.
    • Also toes of Boron, a Snowy owl, should be densely covered with feathers.
    • Digger mentions dingos climbing trees, something real dingos can't do. He is a Cloudcuckoolander, so he may just get his facts wrong.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Nyra, who flies into the final battle without a helmet or steel talons and downs more birds than any other Pure One. The Pure Ones value strength above anything else, so it stands to reason that their Queen would be strong. It might be that Asskicking Equals Authority.
    • King Boron himself also counts, given that he faces off against four Pure Ones by himself and comes out on top.
  • Avenging the Villain: Soren's reaction to Kludd's death is to find Metalbeak and make sure he can't destroy any other young owls' lives. The fact it's his own brother that was brainwashed into trying to kill him and "dies" in the process might have something to do with it.
  • Badass Bookworm: Ezylryb is apparently known more as a scholar than a fighter, if his interactions with Allomere and the others at the tree is anything to go by. Lyze of Kiel, however, is a famous warrior....
  • Bat Out of Hell: With blades on their wings!
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The fight in the forest fire between Soren and Kludd.
  • Battle Couple: Nyra and Metalbeak are an evil example.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mess with Ezylryb, and you'll be messing with Soren.
    • By the time the fight in the forest fire happens, you can tell Kludd's had his pushed way too many times.
  • Big Bad: Metalbeak
  • Bilingual Bonus: Digger, who speaks with an Australian accent like most of the Band, becomes accepted as a Guardian and therefore a soldier with the rest of the Band at the end of the film. So in Aussie slang that would make him Digger the Digger. Who digs.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The Guardians vs. the Pure Ones.
  • Body Horror: Metalbeak’s beak had been clawed off during a fight with Lyze.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Twilight.
  • Bookends: The movie begins with Soren listening one story from his father, and it ends with Soren narrating his adventures to a group of young owls, one who has a helmet made of leaves, just like the one that Soren had at the beginning of the film.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Arguably Kludd, who was subjected to the full force of Nyra's propaganda and bought it, hook, line and sinker. Soren certainly blames the Pure Ones for what happened to him and refuses to believe Kludd really feels like that deep-down inside. Turns out he probably does believe it, though whether it would have ever surfaced without Nyra's help is ambiguous.
  • Break the Cutie: Eglantine.
  • Broken Pedestal: Ezylryb is Lyze of Kiel, and he is the first to tell Soren that the stories he heard in his nest weren't as heroic as he believed...
  • Bullet Time: The movie is directed by Zack Snyder, after all. Has the advantage of making the aerial battles easier to follow.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Barn owls are always referred to as "Tytos" — their Latin name — presumably due to a lack of barns in the setting.
  • Canon Foreigner: One of the Guardians (and traitor), Allomere, was created exclusively for this film. He is not seen in any of the books.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Jutt, who mentions that he has been working on his "evil stare".
  • Chekhov's Skill: The Echidna gives each member of the Band titles which seem to be Informed Abilities — "you are the tracker, you are the navigator" and so on — but each member of the Band actually shows these skills, some of them before they are given the title: Gylfie recognizes constellations and thinks she could find her way by them when they are being moonblinked, Digger is the first of the Band to notice the tell-tale signs of combat when they arrive at the Pure Ones' base, Soren is a better natural flyer than his brother during branching and flys by gizzard alone during his escape from St. Aggies, Mrs P. goes searching for Kludd and Soren, and Twilight is freaking Huge.
  • Child Soldier: St. Aggie's starts recruiting (read: brainwashing) the captured Tytos before they can even fly properly. As a result, they end up fanatically dedicated to the Pure Ones' cause.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
  • Composite Character:
    • Allomere seems to be one for Elvan, the Great Gray member of the Tree's parliament, and Dewlap, who ends up betraying them. According to concept art which labels his helmet as that of Elvan, it's possible that his role was originally meant to be given to Elvan (which would have made for a major case of Adaptational Villainy).
    • In the books, the Pure Ones (the Nazi by Any Other Name Barn Owl villains) are a separate faction from St. Aegolius (who plan to build an army of Brainwashed and Crazy owlets to Take Over the World and are studying the magnetic flecks). In the movie, the Pure Ones are depicted as a combination of the two, with the Pure Ones in charge of St. Aggie's and the St. Aggie's owls that appear answering to Nyra.
  • Convection Schmonvection: How else do owls fly inside a burning forest without their feathers catching fire instantaneously? Rule of Cool is in full force here.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The events of the movie are shown like a shadow puppet theater.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Almost all of the deaths, but the deaths of Allomere and Metalbeak are particularly gruesome.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to other recent talking animal films. Well, compared to most animated movies in general.
  • Dark Is Evil: Metalbeak.
  • Decomposite Character: In the original books, Metalbeak is Kludd, who killed the original Metalbeak off-page. In the movie, it seems as though Metalbeak is a title passed down to the Pure Ones' leader.
  • Defiant to the End: Grimble.
    Nyra: Would you wound your queen, Grimble?
    Grimble: You're not my queen!
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The "shadow theater" style credits at the end.
  • Die Laughing: Metalbeak chuckles a bit after being impaled on a burning stick by Soren, though his laughing quickly turns to gurgling.
  • Disney Villain Death: Implied to be Kludd's fate after he falls into a forest fire. He gets better, but that doesn't stop his screaming while seemingly falling to his death from being any less creepy.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Apparently "trusting your gizzard" works like this. Like Ezylryb tells Soren, the latter was doing good until he started using his head; "that's when you failed."
  • The Dragon: Nyra is both the general and queen of the Pure Ones.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: When asked why he chooses to be known as Ezylryb rather than as Lyze, Ezylryb replies that "Every owl in the tree knows who I am, so what does it matter what I call myself?" In which case, it looks like Otulissa is being quite insulting to a famous war hero when she refers to him as a "Gross old owl" and "[missing] a good bath".
  • Eaten Alive: Heavily implied to be Allomere’s fate at the hands of the vampire bats.
  • Evil Counterpart:
  • Evil Is Bigger: Metalbeak is easily the largest owl in the film, and his long-time nemesis Lyze is one of the smallest. It also applies when Soren challenges him.
  • Evil Laugh: Metalbeak has a wonderfully disturbing chuckle in the back of his throat that is made of pure creepy.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When a recovered Eglantine tells Soren that she wasn't rescued, Kludd gave her to the owl who brought her to Ga'Hoole (i.e. Allomere):
    Soren: No, Eg, no. That's impossible. I mean, that would mean that Allomere would have to be a... be a traitor.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After being implanted by Soren on a burning stick, Metalbeak lets out an amused chuckle.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Kludd.
  • Faceless Mooks: The Pure One soldiers. Not only do they wear face-concealing helmets, but while the Pure One initiates are being addressed by Metalbeak, one guard has a helmet that covers his face completely, no eyes at all.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: A buttload. Less than the books, and off-screen, but still. Allomere's is particularly unpleasant, not that it's undeserved...
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence:
    • Owls clawing and slashing each other apart, characters dying, bats tearing apart owls, some of said bats appearing to die via Neck Snap, impalements... No blood or wounds are visible though.
    • They actually toned down the violence significantly from the original book, which was not afraid to describe many of the Gory Discretion Shots in detail.
    • There is a deleted scene that has owls being enslaved, bats implied to cut a owl's wing (or at least its flight feathers, which is nearly as creepy) off, and a violent battle wherein a owl gets a talon sliced off in clear view of the camera.
    • If it weren't for Noctus saying that he was "bound to the earth forever," it looks like he is about to be decapitated.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Pure Ones believe that Tyto owls are superior to other owl species and are destined to rule over them.
  • Fastball Special: At one point, a group of crows has snatched Twilight's lute... which happens to have Mrs. Plithiver in it. They're unable to keep up, and Twilight offers to do a mid-air throw to get Soren closer.
    Twilight: I'll get you closer! We're going to lock talons!
    Soren: What?
    Twilight: Trust me! I know what I'm doing!
    Soren: Yeah, but have you done this before?
    Twilight: No, but I've always wanted to try it!
  • Five-Man Band: Lampshaded in the movie by the Echidna, who refers to the group as "The Band" at one point and gives them the below labels.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Soren and his gizzard.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Soren figures out that Ezylryb is Lyze of Kiel, the latter tells him:
      Ezylryb: What did you expect? Some Tyto Alba with gleaming armor and battle claws with the moon rising behind him?
Then when we get to the climax, we get this dramatic shot.
  • When Soren and Gylfie are learning to fly, Gylfie has trouble because of her small wings. Their teacher tells them that Lyze of Kiel had small wings. He is the smallest of the Guardians that we are introduced to.
  • Ezylryb telling Soren about the importance of fire, and that there is nothing more dangerous.
  • Formerly Friendly Family: Soren and Kludd start off close as could be, until they are kidnapped by the Pure Ones. At that point, Kludd slowly ends up believing the Pure Ones's mission and attempts to sabotage an escape attempt Soren makes. It ultimately ends with the two brothers fighting in a flaming forest followed by Kludd seemingly falling to his death.
  • From Bad to Worse: Well, after falling from the nest, Soren and Kludd are attacked by a Tasmanian devil. Two owls come to their rescue. However...
  • Giftedly Bad:
    • Twilight's poetry. His lute playing is actually quite good, though.
    • Digger's jokes.
  • Gilligan Cut: When the owls fly into the hailstorm over the Watchers Island. (If not conforming to the exact wording of the trope, it's at least in the spirit.)
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Nyra.
  • Good Animals, Evil Animals:
    • Both sides are made up of owls, but only the bad guys use trained attack bats (or perhaps the bats are evil and have an alliance with the villains, we're never told).
    • The Pure Ones consist entirely of owls from the Tyto genus (a.k.a. barn owls). Lampshaded by many characters, but notably Kludd in the line "Because we are Tytos!" in answer to Metalbeak's query of why the Pure Ones are superior. "Lower species" are reserved for the grunt work alone but do "stain" their feathers as a sort of uniform or show of loyalty.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Metalbeak and Ezylryb. Note, Metalbeak hides his scars but boasts about his badass, whilst Ezylryb shows how mangled he is but hides the fact that he's Lyze of Kiel.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Several major character deaths are done in this way.
  • Homage: The movie feels like The Lord of the Rings with owls, complete with the pure-hearted, humble hero character nearly constantly wearing a worried expression.
  • Idiot Hair: Digger's Idiot Feather.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Metalbeak. With a burning stick for extra awesome.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Flying by instinct alone though a storm: Cool. Flying by instinct alone though a fire storm while dragging a burning pot of oil: Cooler.
  • Inertial Impalement: Happens at the climax of the final battle: Soren gets knocked onto the ground, his flaming stick nearby. As Metalbeak flies at him, battle claws extended, Soren grabs the stick and points it at Metalbeak, who flies onto it.
  • Instrument of Murder: Twilight brings his lute into battle. No points for guessing what he does with it.
  • Interspecies Romance: Grimble's mate (shown briefly) is a Spotted owl, while Grimble is a Boreal owl.
  • Killer Rabbit: The owls. Oh so much.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Guardians of Ga'Hoole resemble non-human, idealistic versions of King Arthur's knights, complete with a moral code in the form of an ancient oath to "mend the broken, make strong the weak, and without hesitation vanquish the evil."
  • Legacy Character: Kludd is implied to become the next Metalbeak.
  • The Legend of X: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the original books, and the other Zack Snyder movies.
  • Light Is Good: Played straight with Boron and Barran, the two leaders of the Guardians, who use golden helmets and have a white plumage. Also, with Soren, who has white and golden feathers.
  • Light Is Not Good: Nyra and many of the Pure Ones, which, being barn owls, have golden/orange and white feathers.
  • Logo Joke: Noctus flies by the Warner and Legendary Pictures logo.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Possibly, seeing as Kludd strengthens his resolve to stay with the Pure Ones with just one look at Nyra.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • The metal flecks; it is implied that they are magnetic (the lines of blue light emanating from then move from pole to pole like the lines of force around an magnet) and many birds are sensitive to magnetic fields, so the flecks could be functioning as a EMP, but this is never explained in-movie.
    • Likewise, whether trusting your gizzard is just trusting instinct or something more mystical is never elaborated on.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Grimble. Averted with Lyze — Metalbeak was going to kill in front of Soren, but he escaped.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Moonblinked owls have milky white eyes, giving them almost a zombie-like appearance.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The terrestrial mammalian life is quite obviously Australian, but the owls are from all over the world and the bats appear to be vampire bats.
  • Murder Ballad: Twilight's "inspiring" battle song. It's about all the horrible way the protagonist is going to die in battle. He thinks it will inspire Digger.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    Grimble: I told myself that if any came along who were smart and brave enough I'd help them escape. (beat) You'll have to do.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Allomere looks remorseful when he sees the effect that the fleck trap has on the Guardians.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Pure Ones, and how. The villains are pretty much owl Nazis, complete with their own Hitler Youth. Nyra is a Sdrawkcab Name that really hammers the point home.
  • Never Found the Body: Kludd. Because he's still alive. And may become the new Metalbeak, if they decide to do a sequel.
  • Nightmare Face: Why Metalbeak wears his trademark helmet.
  • Not Brainwashed: Soren believes Kludd to be brainwashed by the Pure Ones and that he can still save him, only to find it's who he really is.
    Soren: I don't understand. How could you join the Pure Ones after what they did to us?
    Kludd: "What they did to us"? They believe in me like no one else ever has! Metal Beak says the strong will triumph, the broken are put out of their misery, and honor...honor is just another word for weakness!
    Soren: No, Kludd! I know you don't really think that!
    Kludd: Then you don't know all.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: A few "aah's" are heard in some scenes with the Pure Ones and Soren, and chanting is heard in the climax as Metalbeak attempts to kill Soren.
  • Ominous Owl: Metalbeak and Nyra play the creepy owl factor for all it is worth.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Grimble informs the kidnapped owlets that they have not, in fact, been kidnapped but abandoned by their parents and that St. Aggie's is an orphanage put there to care for them form now on. Even he makes no effort to hide how blatantly false this is.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Only one owl out of the cast is wise, but we do spend the latter half of the movie hearing him wise at Soren.
  • Pet the Dog: Kludd releases a small bird that he and the other Pure One initiates were trying to catch.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse:
    • Lyze is by far the smallest of the Guardians on the council.
    • During the Training Montage, there is a brief scene of Twilight getting clobbered by a pygmy owl (Primrose).
    • Gylfie is the smallest owl in the band and can quite handle herself amongst numerous vicious bats.
  • Playing Possum: Metalbeak does this once.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Although there are enormous differences between the books and the movie, most fans agree that the changes are true to the books' general spirit, and make it a very enjoyable film to watch whether you're a fan of the original or not.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: Soren and Gylfie manages to resist the "moonblinking" by not falling asleep, but afterwards has to pretend they're affected like the rest so not to be found out.
  • Puns:
    • Soren's name sounds an awful lot like Soarin'.
    • Digger's dialogue is full of these.
      Digger: Knock Knock!
      Gylfie: Who's there?
      Digger: Owls.
      Gylfie: Owls who?
      Digger: That's right! Owls hoo!
    • And again later:
      Digger: What does an owl say when he is attacked by crows?
      Gylfie: (hit by a crow) Ow!
      Digger: That's right! Owl!
    • Let's not forget the first exchange that set off the warning bells:
      Twilight: If I have to hear any more of his owl jokes...
      Digger: They're a hoot!
    • Since the German dub couldn't save those, they replaced it with an even worse one with "Uhu" (a large owl species, and a glue brand name).
  • Putting on the Reich: Big red vertical hanging banners with white logos in the center flanking Nyra whilst she makes a speech on why Tytos are the master race: this film manages to put on the Reich despite no-one wearing clothes!
  • The Quisling: Allomere, who sets up his own squad to be injured by the metal flecks. He is later ratted out by Eglantine.
  • Reality Ensues: Discussed. In-Universe, Soren was always fascinated with the glorious story of Lyze and the Battle of the Ice Claws. When he reads Ezylryb/Lyze's journal about that same battle, he's a bit surprised that it's less than palatable, to say the least. Ezylryb is straightforward about the true nature of war. It's not a game, it's not a heroic endeavor, but rather it's about fighting to the death in order to protect everything you hold dear. Ezylryb/Lyze's scarred appearance unto itself is a testament of this trope. One rarely returns from war unscathed or unchanged by the experience.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Boron and Barran, and in fact all the council other than Allomere, are quite happy to take Soren at his word that a legendary evil has turned up, and they promptly send someone to check it out. Pity that someone was a traitor.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • The Pure One Mooks get these.
    • Nyra's eyes are initially normal, befitting her projected appearance of a beautiful, reasonable and trustworthy authority figure, but the more furious she becomes, the redder her eyes get. At one point during battle, her eyes are as red as any other among the Pure Ones.
    • The bats.
    • When Kludd is revealed to be alive at the end, his eyes glow a sinister red as he looks upon the fallen Metalbeak's mask.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Allomere.
    Allomere: No! No, no, you promised me! You promised me I'd be king of the tree!
    [Allomere is attacked by bats and dragged off into a nearby hole]
    Metalbeak: You should know, Allomere... There can be only one king.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Boron and Queen Baran. They rule over the tree of Ga'Hoole, but regularly teach classes to the trainee Guardians, and lead their fellows into battle.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Twilight takes Mrs. P to his and Digger's tree hollow with the intention of eating her, and at one point asks why are Soren and Gylfie talking to "dinner".
  • Save the Villain: Played with. Kludd becomes a full member of the Pure Ones and turns completely against Soren in the end, attempting to kill his own brother without remorse. After their fight which leaves Kludd with a broken wing however, he begs Soren to save him. Soren tries, only to find Kludd attempting to attack him again, which results in the latter accidentally sending himself plummeting into the fire below. He survives.
  • Scenery Porn / Scenery Gorn: The Guardians' Tree? Breathtaking. The Pure Ones' base? Terrifying. The entire movie is supremely gorgeous. Pick a shot, any shot, in this film; you could frame it. The trailers were especially fond of the slo-mo shot with the raindrops hitting an unbelievably detailed owl in flight.
  • Sdrawkcab Name:
    • Nyra, as mentioned above.
    • Ezylryb/Lyze, which is probably more obvious in the books where you see it written.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The Echidna and the Tasmanian Devil. Also, the movie gives screen time to some lesser-known owl species.
  • Sequel Hook: A still-alive Kludd picking up Metalbeak's helmet at the end.
  • Ship Tease:
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Pure Ones' helmeted, glowing red-eyed warriors look a lot like Cylon Centurions, especially in profile.
    • The bats look a lot like the Komori Ninja (bladed wings, proficient in science), but that's probably a coincidence.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Yes, owls do regurgitate mice in that manner.
    • Correct bird calls are used to represent the proper species of owls seen in the movie.
    • Barn owls always lay eggs to stagger the hatching of their young, resulting in owlets of different ages sharing the nest at the same time, just like Kludd, Soren and Eglantine. Why? Because that way if there is a food shortage, it's far, far easier for the oldest sibling to resolve the issue, guaranteeing at least one will survive. Yeah Soren... you should have seen your brother's behavior coming.
    • There is even some Truth in Television to the flecks; many birds have a natural magnetic compass in their brains to help them orient and to supplement their inner ears; a really powerful magnetic field nearby can thoroughly disrupt their ability to orient and can induce vertigo in small birds. The rest is Rule of Drama.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Kludd gives several of these to Soren during their final fight.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Kludd and Soren.
  • Signature Instrument: Twilight the poet/warrior carries a lute (which Digger hates the sound of), but he's an owl so it's unknown where he got one from.
  • Sleep Cute: Gylfie and Digger fall asleep against Soren on a tree branch.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • In the book, Soren's parents are most likely dead by the time the Band reaches the great tree (though it's never specified quite when they die, the fact is we never see them alive again after Soren is kidnapped). The movie has them alive and well, actually making it to the tree themselves.
    • Due to changes between the books and the films, Digger's brother never appears in the film. Given what happens to him in the books, he's probably quite grateful for this.
    • For the same reason as the above, the deaths of Jatt and Jutt were also omitted.
    • Strix Struma gets to survive the climactic battle.
  • Squick: Gylfie's reaction to having to sift through pellets in the Pelletorium is an In-Universe example.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • A song by Owl City playing in the background as they explore the tree, anyone?
    • There's a very subtle one in the bird-chase scene early on. The bird they're chasing is an Indigo Bunting. That means that the would-be Pure Ones were... bunting baiting.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Grimble, if he's as old as he seems. Right up until Kludd's betrayal he was more than holding his own against two Pure Ones and Nyra, who can down several Guardians completely unequipped, as stated above.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The Pure Ones pull this on the Guardians, and they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling owlets!
  • Those Two Guys: Digger and Twilight when we meet them.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • During their fight, Kludd breaks his wing and begs Soren to pull him up. He may have been trying for a Mutual Kill, but it was still a really stupid decision when there's a forest fire going on beneath them.
    • Arguably, Soren himself. He absolutely refused to believe Kludd could side with the Pure Ones, and as a result nearly gets killed by him.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • The trailers billed the movie as an epic quest wherein Soren becomes his ideal (a Guardian) through many trials while trying to reach them. At least, to those that never read the novels.
    • The trailers also used a lot of lines and footage not in the actual movie, like Grimble explaining what the Pure Ones are doing, and parts of this trailer.
  • War Is Hell: Hammered home by battle-scarred Ezylryb.
    Ezylryb: Well this is what it looks like when you've actually fought in battle. It's not glorious, it's not beautiful — it's not even heroic! It's merely doing what's right! And doing it again and again, even if someday you look like this.
  • War Is Glorious: In classic Snyder style, battles are beautiful, stylized affairs- no gruesome injuries (except for Metal Beak's belly stab, which he arguably brought on himself), collateral damage to innocents, or landscape ransacking included.
  • Warrior Poet: Twilight likes to think of himself as one, though he's arguably better at the "warrior" part.
  • Weaponized Animal: The guardians and most of the Pure Ones wear battle talons, and the bats have blades on their wings.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kludd's supposed death isn't addressed when Soren reunites with his parents.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Kludd's "reason" for joining the Pure Ones.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Allomere is a little squeamish about Metalbeak's plans for the incapacitated Guardians, and asks if it really has to be the bats that kill them. Nyra replies that as the bats are immune to the effects of the superweapon, yes. This gets really ironic really quickly.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Possibly employed by Kludd in the burning forest, just before he falls into the flames.
  • You Did the Right Thing: Ezylryb sums it up well for Soren in after the latter kills Metalbeak.
    Ezylryb: Soren... you did what was right. And you did it well.
  • You Have Failed Me: Metalbeak to the traitorous Allomere. May double as a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness moment. As Metalbeak put it, "You should know, Allomere...there is only room for one king."
  • You Killed My Father: Soren's reaction in a nutshell at Kludd's "death."
  • Youngest Child Wins: Subverted. Soren is the middle child, but he fares far better than Kludd and Eglantine.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Grimble. He manages to hold off both Nyra and two other Pure Ones, and even when Kludd makes his Face–Heel Turn, he still has enough fight in him to ensure that Soren and Gylfie managed to escape.


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