Jungian Analysis of Legend of the Guardian’s: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

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Jungian Analysis of Legend of the Guardian’s: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Post  andrekg on Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:44 pm


Jungian Analysis of Legend of the Guardian’s: The Owls of Ga’Hoole


The Legend of the Guardian’s: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is an Australian film that is based on of a series of novels by Kathryn Lasky. The film is about the main character and his brother (Sorin and Kludd) being kidnapped and taken to a camp where the evil owl leaders attempt to make Sorin a slave and Kludd a warrior. Sorin escapes and informs the Guardians of the atrocities being committed by this evil group. (The Guardians are a group of owl warriors that defend an owl world that is regarded as free and prosperous.) The Guardians attack and defeat the evil owls however, while in battle, Sorin faces his brother Kludd, who is evil. Kludd escapes as well as other evil owls and this leads to the sequel. This film is not only engaging, interesting and abundant with sub stories but it is rich with Jungian archetypes.
The most dominant symbolic archetype in the film is the good vs. evil archetype. The good vs. evil archetype in this movie is similar to the other three symbolic Jungian archetypes. The good vs. evil archetype is depicted by a hero’s kingdom known as Ga’hoole in the middle of the ocean. Every time this kingdom is showed it is in sunlight, the tree is strong that contains the kingdom, and all the leaves are green. The inhabitants live in coves and holes inside the tree or large portions of the tree that are hallowed out. There is also art in Ga’hoole and every owlet receives a far chance at an education. This kingdom obviously serves as a symbol for “good”.
The evil kingdom is the home of the evil and “moon blinked” (brain washed) owls. It is a dark kingdom in a barren landscape that has no natural vegetation nearby. There are many ridged mountains close to it and the forest and sea are a far distance away from the kingdom. Most of the inhabitants live in sharp unnatural structures or caves. The sun also never shines when the kingdom is depicted in the film. There is also no art in this kingdom and not every owlet receives the opportunity to be educated.
This symbolic archetype can obviously fall into all the other categories of symbolic archetypes. This is because of the lighting, landscape and owls available opportunities associated with each kingdom. However, I feel, as those these to kingdoms are most symbolic of the evil vs. good archetype.
The Journey is the most obvious situational archetype in this film. Sorin and Kludd are kidnapped and the truth about the injustices being committed towards owlets is revealed to both of them because of the kidnapping. The rulers of the dark kingdom attempt to brainwash Sorin and turn him into a slave. Sorin escapes and ventures on a journey to reveal these truths to owls that have the ability to restore justice to the owl kingdom. During the journey, Sorin makes five friends. The group of five bond and this is made exceptionally clear when the group all fall asleep together in a tree. In this time of great fear, they all trust each other enough to let their guard down in front of each other and embrace each others presence.
While Sorin is on his journey he must cross the dangerous sea. While crossing,
his friend Digger, almost falls into the sea. Sorin attempts to rescue him but he fails and digger appears to be lost. A Guardian Owl rescues Digger and the group follows the Guardian to Ga’hoole. The group returns to society and their journey is completed. This serves as a perfect example of Jung’s journey archetype.
In this film there are dozens of character archetypes. Among the best is that of the earth mother which is symbolized through the forest environment of Ga’hoole. Sorin immediately falls in love with this place. He claims it is exactly the place he used to dream about as a child. Among his surroundings, friends and teacher he becomes a warrior. He receives no nurturing or love from a mother but instead receives this love and nurturing from growing up in the tree. After leaving and returning to the tree after battle, Sorin reunites with his biological mother after much time. She is excited to see him yet, says very little and even though Sorin shows excitement towards seeing her, it is obvious her role as a mother has been entirely replaced by Ga’hoole. This is made clear when Sorin receives a ceremonial celebration in his honor for his triumphs at battle and receives the love from the owls of the tree equal to that which a mother should give. The second last scene finalizes this archetypal symbol when Sorin is telling the tale of his journeys of battle to the young owlets as a son would tell their mother. The tree, which is Ga’hool, serves as the perfect symbol for the earth mother.
The mentor/father Archetype is also found in this film and Ezylrye, who was once known as Lyze of Kiel, fulfills this role. When Sorin arrives at Ga’hoole, he is without his father and he almost immediately befriends Ezylrye. What Sorin does not know at first, is that Ezylrye is his childhood hero, Lyze of Kiel, who was a great warrior. This means he has already acted as a father towards Sorin. His stories inspired Sorin and were often Sorin’s motivation to do “good” growing up in the tree. Sorin has looked up to and learned many lessons from Lyze of Kiel without ever meeting him personally. When Sorin becomes closer with Ezylre, Ezylre teaches Sorin how to fly like he did in battle. Sorin learns quickly and when it comes time for battle Ezlrye has the fatherly instinct to tell Sorin he should not go to battle and instead, stay in Ga’hool to tend to his injured sister. Sorin disobeys Ezlrye and goes to battle. He actually saves Ezylre’s life when he is about to be killed by the leader of the dark owl kingdom. In the final scene of the film Sorin, Ezlrye and other owls fly into the sunset together as a united family.
The film has exceptional animation, voice actors and script. These factors contribute to its overall impression on the viewer. Personally I found the movie to be very good, especially for a younger audience. This is because of its incredible animation that led to great imagery and its ability to establish strong ideals about what is morally right and wrong. However, It is ultimately the use Jungian archetypes that shape this excellent story.
Andre Kostiw-Gill


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:06 pm

Andre - excellent review/analysis. I am not familiar with this film or the book it is based on, and now you have my interest piqued. I particularly enjoyed your observation of the forest/tree as Earth Mother. You have demonstrated that these archetypes can be seen in more than just specific humans with stereotypical character traits. The archetype can manifest itself in many symbols and ideas - specific literary characters are only one. Also, it is typical that a Hero be a kind of warrior, but The Warrior itself can serve as an archetype. Well done.
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