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Western Animation / Wildfire

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Wildfire was a 1986 cartoon by Hanna-Barbera, airing on CBS.

In the magical land of Dar-Shan, the beloved Queen Sarana dies under mysterious circumstances. Wildfire (John Vernon), a magical talking horse, escapes with the infant Princess Sara to Montana. When she turns 13, he comes back for her and they attempt to save Dar-Shan from the evil Lady Diabolyn, Queen Sarana's stepsister, and her Spectres. Sara herself has no magical abilities, and usually succeeds by her wits and with the (sometimes dubious) assistance of a sorcerer, his apprentice, and an orphaned colt.

Tropes include:

  • Aborted Arc: In the final episode, Wildfire bumps into a mare who is implied to be an old flame of his. He then learns she has a family with Thunderbolt and doesn't interact with her again.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: A man wagered his whole fortune in an attempt to double it. He lost.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The horses of this series come in an astonishing array of colors. Wildfire himself is purple with a red mane and tail.
  • Cool Horse
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In the real world, Sarah's adoptive father, John Cavanaugh, is an ordinary, somewhat prosaic human, to whom Sarah sometimes has trouble explaining her strange absences. In fact, he can't remember their past life in Dar-Shan, where he was her real father, the handsome Prince Cavan of the prior generation's fairy tale. However, in one episode when Sara gets into such trouble that she can't be rescued any other way, Wildfire temporarily abates the amnesia to bring her father back to save her — at which point it is revealed just why he was such a hero.
  • Doorstop Baby: Wildfire left Sara at John Cavanaugh's doorstep. Never seen by those who missed the intro, however.
  • Downer Beginning: The story begins with the passing of Queen Sarinanote .
  • Evil Aunt: Diabolyn is Sara's step-aunt, and plenty evil.
  • Expy: Diabolyn seems to be one of Maleficent, being an evil sorceress with a similar outfit, having a group of cartoonish monsters for minions and being able to turn into a dragon.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In the first episode, Diabolyn turns into a dragon to fight Wildfire. After that, she never does it again.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sara has them.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Averted with Queen Sarana; played straight with Diabolyn.
  • Gold Digger: When the people of Dar-Shan hail Waddler as their new king, Diabolyn tries to marry him to become queen.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: In the first episode, Diabolyn tries to win over the people of Dar-Shan by wearing a dress made of golden fabric. It fails when Princess Sara reveals where she acquired the gold.
  • Informed Attribute: Everyone acts like Wildfire is the most badass horse in all of Dar-Shan, but we never learn how he got that reputation.
  • Lonely at the Top: In "The Name is the Game", the first person who won the game became such a powerful sorcerer that he has no friends, because everyone is either jealous of his power or afraid of him.
  • Magical Land
  • Manipulative Bastard: For a petty creature whose main (if not only) goal is making people unhappy and has no use for the gains from the people who fail to learn his name, that troll has shades of this trope. For example, one of his adversaries was a wizard who took in the bet to gain more power. The wizard won, but became Lonely at the Top.
  • Missing Mom: Sara's mother died within one year of marriage because of a curse cast by Diabolyn. Sara and her father left Dar-Shan so the curse wouldn't reach them.
  • Muggle Best Friend: Ellen is from Earth, but knows about Sara being the princess of a Magical Land.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: John Cavanaugh is this to Princess Sara. Or so she believes, until it's revealed that he's her real father, but had this knowledge erased from his memory.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Sometimes you see centaurs... but in this show, you get one where the top half is some kind of cat abomination. Sometimes the monster-of-week designers at Hanna-Barbera went nuts; this is one of those instances.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Despite being a sorcerer, Alvinar never does any magic.
  • Pop-Star Composer: The show's main title theme was composed by singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Wildfire is purple and has the best reputation among the horses.
  • Secondary Character Title: Princess Sara is the main character, but the show is titled after the horse.
  • Shout-Out: The Highwayman is an Expy of Robin Hood. Also, one episode features a troll challenging people to figure out his name.
  • Somewhere, an Equestrian Is Crying: Look at Wildfire's many rearing poses. Or his anatomy in general.
  • Sore Loser: The troll hates it when somebody wins his name game.
  • Stable Time Loop: In episode 5, it's revealed that time-traveling Sara was a key component in allowing her parents' marriage and her own subsequent existence to occur.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Wildfire perpetually sports one of these, due to the vivid pale blueness of his eyes.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Diabolyn's blustering and only somewhat competent, and her goons aren't competent or scary. The Spectres are demonic and quite intimidating for a Saturday morning cartoon where magic horses always save the day.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Diabolyn tries to be this to persuade the Pixie Painters to paint a portrait of her.
  • Was Once a Man: Diabolyn's minions used to be human guards until they looked in the Specters' jar.