Over the Garden Wall

From fairy tale tropes to singing frogs, to witches and heroic quests, this quaint, animated miniseries captures the feeling of a perfectly whimsical eternal autumn. At ten episodes, each only twelve minutes long, OTGW is a quick, extremely satisfying watch.

The animation is simple, with bright, autumnal colors and unique character designs; it is used to the fullest to inject a heavy dose of fantastic realism into an otherwise realistic narrative. The music for the series was well chosen and well written and fit each character or sequence beautifully. I believe that I’ve listened to The Highway Man’s Song at least twenty times.

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The narrative itself is surprisingly bittersweet and optimistic, even as it follows a loose outline of Dante’s Inferno and includes elements of traditional Halloween horror stories.Besides being cute and fun to watch, it’s unique and engaging, allowing the viewer to simply sit back and enjoy the show for what it is: a whimsical Halloween themed fairy tale.

It’s especially poignant if you have siblings.

The villain of the series is exactly my favorite type of monster – a force of nature, inhuman creature, that allows its power to speak for it, rather than acting as a human villain. The Beast is vaguely reminiscent of Nyarlathotep in design, though it may be a coincidence.

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Overall, this series was wonderful to watch, and I’ve rewatched it many times. It may be light on the horror, but the atmosphere is so distinctly Halloween and so pleasantly whimsical that it remains interesting all the way to the end, which satisfies everyone.

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3 thoughts on “Over the Garden Wall

  1. I absolutely love this mini series. When I first watched it, it shot right to the top of my favorites list.

    I saw your comparison between The Beast and Nyarlathotep and thought it was an interesting comparison. I had to look it up, honestly. That was a neat connection!
    In my own viewing, I connected The Beast with Goethe’s Erlkönig. The comparison came to me when listening to The Beast singing in the woods the one time that the narrative fools the watcher first into believing it is the Woodsman singing (courtesy of Beatrice’s assumption). It sounds operatic, and instantly reminded me of an operatic rendition of Goeth’s poem that I had heard in a music appreciation class that I took in order to get out of taking less interesting classes (I already had a deep understanding of music from years of band class and marching band).

    The poem details the plight of a father who’s boy won’t stop talking about a fairy who is coming to take him away. The boy is frightened, and tries to convince the dad that something is wrong, but his please are ignored. The boy is dead before anything can be done for him. Depictions of the erlkonig (the elder king, if I recall) often show him as having antlers made of wood, much like The Beast.

    Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was also reminded of a short story based on Erlkonig, but couldn’t for the life of me remember the name – all I had to go on was “fairy antler king” and it wasn’t helpful at all. Lovecraftian lore is more familiar and it also lined up there, so. Thank you so much for helping me solve that little mystery!

      Liked by 1 person

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