Featurette! Susan Dennard + Willow

Willow is a cult classic and for five-year old me, it was pretty much love at first watch.

It's funny because I wasn't exactly in the target audience for that movie. I mean, I was five! I kept thinking about that when I re-watched it last weekend and I'm seeing monsters ripping people apart and sorceresses having an all out catfight. But at the same time, I could see why I became obsessed with it. Here was this seriously motley crew of people on an unexpected journey to save a baby princess. There's humor, a lot of heart, romance (the love/hate kind, my fave!), rising to be more than what others expect of you and fun action scenes (ignore the poor CGI).

[Sidenote: When I say I watched this movie a lot, I mean I'm surprised I didn't wear out the VHS we owned or that my parents didn't throw it out the window to get me to stop. Just letting you all know.]

The hero Willow finds friends in a warrior named Madmartigan (I'm pretty sure I had a crush on him back then without even realizing it), a fierce (female!) rebel warrior named Sorsha, a sorceress named Fin Raziel and a brownie duo who usually provided the comedic relief. Together they rise against the evil queen and I think it's a pretty epic movie in its own way.

Now, joining me today is one of my favorite authors Susan Dennard
who's going to tell us why she loves this movie. 


I first saw Willow when I was...eleven? Twelve? I don't remember the exact year or age, but I do vividly remember the experience.

As preteens, my brother and I were deeply obsessed with Star Wars. So when we learned George Lucas had made OTHER movies, we knew we had to watch them. SOMEHOW, we would make it happen. Of course, this was pre-internet, pre-streaming, and even pre-DVD days, so we forced our poor mother to drive us around to all the local video rental stores. And at each store, we were reduced to skimming shelves and pestering video attendants for help.

We ended up bringing home Willow and American Graffiti (having already seen, memorized, and geeked out over the Indiana Jones movies). The latter rental, we soon learned, was NOTHING like Star Wars and not at all our style.

But the former...oh, Willow! Oh Madmartigan! Oh Sorsha and Raziel and Elora Danan! My brother and I watched the movie twice, back to back. Then probably a third time the next day. And likely a fourth time before it was due back to the rental store.

It was the first experience I'd ever had watching non-cartoon fantasy on the screen! The first time I'd seen swords and magic and humor and romance without Disney music to go along!

And oh my gosh, the romance! The love-to-hate! The roguish banter from Madmartigan! The GORGEOUS FACE of Madmartigan!! (That movie actually launched a decade-long obsession with all things Val Kilmer for me. Um, Ice Man anyone?)

So obsessed was I with the movie that I actually read all the sequels, in which Elora Danan grows up to be a spoiled, awful, but truly strong heroine of her own story (in case you're wondering, the first book in that series is called Shadow Moon).

Needless to say, Willow's story, its characters, and its world were--and still are--huge inspirations for my own storytelling. There's a character I'm drafting now in the the sequel to Truthwitch who might be a bit...okay, a LOT like Madmartigan. And in the early drafts of Truthwitch, my heroine was actually named Sorsha after Sorsha in Willow. ;) So clearly, my obsession with that movie (and young Val Kilmer) never truly ended.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here's my favorite scene from the movie--when poor Madmartigan inhales a love powder:

Thank you Susan for stopping by the blog today! 
I hope we convinced you all to check out this movie! 

And with that, here's a clip I want to share that always used to make me laugh: 

(P.S. I really hope you guys liked the new feature! I already have other author/movie pairings in mind. But some of my other favorite movies include: Almost Famous, Once, Two For the Road, Labyrinth and Empire Records. If you know of any authors who love these movies too, please email or tweet me! Thanks!) 


  1. Ah!!! I LOVE Willow. This movie had such an impact on me as a child and just all the swoons for Madmartigan. There's a character a lot like him?!? I am even MORE excited. I didn't even think that was possible. Love this post! Thank you for sharing

  2. Ah, y'all make me want to watch Willow! I've never seen it, but just based on your descriptions? It sounds like a movie I'd enjoy too :)


with love,