Hilda

Tagged: TV

UK/Canadian animated tv series (2018-current). Netflix. Based on the Graphic Novels by Luke Pearson beginning with Hildafolk (graph 2010). Executive producers Clint Eland, Kurt Mueller, Luke Pearson and Stephanie Simpson. Directed by Andy Coyle. Written by Kenny Byerly, Ben Joseph, Luke Pearson and Stephanie Simpson. Voice cast includes Ameerah Falzon-Ojo, Daisy Haggard, Rasmus Hardiker, Ako Mitchell, Oliver Nelson and Bella Ramsay. Thirteen 24-minute episodes to date. Colour.

In a Nordic wilderness Hilda (Ramsay), aged eleven or thereabouts, lives in an isolated cottage, happily exploring the surrounding Pastoral landscape and its creatures. When her mother (Haggard) decides to move to the city, Hilda is upset. Meanwhile, a giantess is reunited with her boyfriend: she had slept 4,000 years waiting for him (mistaken for a mountain all the while); together they leap into space, as had the other giants (see Great and Small) when humans first arrived, the world now too small. Just before departing, the boyfriend obliviously steps on Hilda's home, who notices her mother has similarly trodden on an Elf house: she reluctantly accepts that it is time to leave.

Trollberg is a (fairly) modern walled city (see Cities), built on Troll land. There Hilda joins the Sparrow Scouts, befriending super-organized Frida (Falzon-Ojo) ("research is the greatest adventure of all") and timid David (Nelson). Hilda also discovers the local Library's secret room, whose stock includes a book of spells (see Magic), whilst the helpful goth (and witchy) librarian provides Hilda with the tools to raise the dead.

When a severe storm disrupts Trollberg, Hilda visits the weather station to meet the local meteorologist, whose Technology enables limited Weather Control, but "the atmosphere only truly answers to one thing: the weather spirits". Her attempts to study these spirits have gotten out of hand (imprisoning a baby spirit has angered them): she is a borderline Mad Scientist.

Most of the fauna is drawn from northern folklore (see Mythology), there being Trolls, Vittra, Giants, Elves, Marra, Nisse, Lindworms and Barghests. The Elves are fixated on paperwork; one, Alfur (Hardiker), becomes a friend (once the right forms have been signed, of course). The Nisse each live in a composite room formed of a house's unused, unseen spaces (see the discussions on topology in Dimensions and Mathematics); the outdoors' equivalent aggregation forming a place "vast and cold". Other inhabitants include Woodman (Mitchell), a small wooden biped inclined to enter your home without so much as a by-your-leave (who, when Hilda tries to chat, responds "I don't come here for the conversation you know"); a Rat King who trades in secrets ("Oh we're so bad, no pudding for us!") and Hilda's Deerfox, Twig.

Hilda is a Hero, kind, smart, inquiring and brave: on meeting a gigantic black hound her first response is delight, while fear must wait its turn. However, she is also reckless and unmindful that something wonderful to her might be received less enthusiastically by others. Though the prevailing mood is upbeat, sometimes an undercurrent of things being lost, of Thinning [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] will rise close to the surface. A charming art style, engaging characters and imaginative storytelling make this an excellent animation series, deservedly winning three 2018 Annie awards and a 2019 Daytime Emmy. [SP]

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