It’s always a treat when you find something you feel was made for you. Not so much in a creepy, people-shaped hole in the side of a mountain way, but more like the creator of the thing peeked into your mind and made it based on what they saw there. I briefly mentioned this experience with my favorite book Tithe in a previous post, and I’m delighted to say I’ve had the experience again, this time with a show on Netflix called Hilda. Based on the graphic novels by Luke Pearson (which I just now placed a hold on at the library), the series follows the titular character Hilda as she navigates the enchanted forest she lives in, and later, the quaint but no-so-quiet city of Trolberg.
Hilda, as a character, stands out to me because she’s another great example of a strong female character, and she’s also super relatable. Even though she’s a little girl, she’s absolutely fearless. In the wilderness, she spends her days adventuring with her adorable deerfox Twig, making friend with trolls, elves, and giants. When she moves to Trolberg, she doesn’t leave her life of adventure behind. In fact, she finds even more adventures to get herself into. She doesn’t hesitate to jump onto the back of some giant creature, take on an army of elves, or hunt down a rat king in the sewers. Something unique about the show is that, even though Hilda’s doing things like conjuring magical mice, befriending thunderbirds, and literally wrestling ghosts, she still struggles with normal things like making human friends for the first time in her life, fitting in, and trying to make her mom proud. When she messes up, she always tries to make things right. When she’s been wronged, she doesn’t back down. She always gives the benefit of the doubt, even when facing a giant hound that’s intent on eating her and her friends.
Another thing that sold me on Hilda is that the magical elements are actually real to all of the inhabitants of the world, and not a part of Hilda’s imagination. For example, Trolberg is surrounded by a giant wall to keep the trolls out, not because of folk legends, but because trolls are an actual potential threat. One element of the show that particularly resonated with me was the tale of the giants who used to roam the earth, until humans became too numerous and the giants realized they were just too big, and left. Hilda reads about this in a book, so it could be written off as simple folklore, but she later finds proof that those events really did happen. As much as I love stuff like, for example Pan’s Labyrinth, where it’s open to interpretation if Ofelia imagined the magical elements (would it surprise you if I said I totally believe it was all real?), sometimes I just gotta have the supernatural existing in the mundane world. Hilda does this perfectly, and I can’t wait for season 2.
Oh, and Trolberg also has an amazing library that I wish I could visit. Awesome libraries always deserve a mention.