It is an eternal clue in children’s stories that the parents’ characters are simply… absent. Usually this means that the young protagonists can go on terrifying adventures and face wicked enemies without being forbidden by their parents. Sometimes it means that the parents are absent and they are simply not paying attention. Other times, it means they’re dead. And sometimes they’re just shitty parents and going against them is part of the whole journey. Even if the adults are not directly related to the young heroes, they are often seen as wise and distant mentors or authoritarian obstacles.
But Disney Channel Owl’s house it refutes so many of these expectations about parent figures in children’s media. Especially the last episode delves into the relationship between the brave Luz and her mother. Now back in the human world, Luz has a chance to make contact with his mother, Camila. And Camila’s relentless acceptance and support for all the weird things Luz has encountered is just incredibly wonderful and refreshing. It would be surprising, but right from the start Owl’s house focused on developing adult characters and their relationship with the young heroes – especially in the case of Luz and the mad witch Edy.
[Ed. note: This rest of this essay contains massive spoilers for the entirety of The Owl House thus far.]
As the show began, Eda took Luz under her wing after Luz fell into the demon realm. From Edy Luz he gets to know the world of witches and magic. Eda may be chaotic and irresponsible (as well as a wanted criminal), but she becomes the parent character for Luz and King, the young demon she adopted. They turn into their own crazy, makeshift family, which affects not only the development of Luz, but also Edy.
With someone to care for – and someone to protect – Eda becomes more responsible (still keeping her reckless attitude). In the last few episodes of season two, the danger begins to increase as the evil Emperor Belos’s plans to suck all the magic out of the Boiling Islands begin to bear fruit. Usually in the media for children, this means it’s time for the young heroes to step in and fight, even if it means standing up to the adults.
But in Owl’s house, one of the biggest sources of tension in the final episodes of season two comes from Edy’s desire to protect Luz and keep her safe from harm. It’s not about underestimating Luz or being a stumbling block for the young heroes; Edy’s point of view makes sense, and while Luz protests when she finds out and argues, they ultimately both realize that it’s more important that they’re protecting each other – and relying on the rest of their allies.
Edy and Luz’s relationship is the driving force behind the first two seasons, but in Season 3, Camila and Luz’s relationship finally has a chance to shine. While rarely appearing, Camila has been a central character in Luz’s story for two seasons. Rather than being the dominant authority Luz tried to escape, Camila cares deeply about her daughter despite having made a few mistakes in the past. Luz has spent the last two seasons trying to figure out a way to let her mom know she’s okay – even after Camila sent her to a restless children’s camp.
Season 3’s opening delved into Camila’s reasoning and simply why she made that decision – and how she realized it was wrong. And ultimately Camila turns out to be one of the best and most supportive parents in animation. Without asking, she accepts Luz’s witch friends and does her best to accommodate their strange quirks, researching various foods they might eat and placing them in her house. When Luz comes out to her, Camila hugs her daughter, and then wears a pride badge with each outfit. When she learns how much her daughter is struggling with guilt for everything that has happened in the demon realm, he rushes to support her.
However, not all of these decisions are easy. It’s hard to be a parent and it’s harder to accept four teenage witches who have become stuck in the human world. AND Owl’s house shows it. Not only does it paint adults as simply “bad” or “good”, it shows work that leads to being a supportive, positive parenting figure. They get thoughtful stories and personalities which makes them well-rounded characters and shows a different side to parenting than usual in animation for all ages. This, in turn, allows Luz and the other young heroes to grow up and evolve – especially characters who are used to terrible parents and who eventually have a source of support and love.
Because yes, there are very, very bad parental characters in Owl’s house. Amita’s mother, Odalia, controls and thinks about her children less like a family and more like a business investment; Emperor Belos basically uses his Totem Hunter as a pawn in his grand scheme. They are wicked – and that only keeps there … are good parenting details are so important. So when Amita’s father finally defends her, and Camila without hesitating jumps into the lake to save Hunter, it hits even harder. There are so many adult characters who stand up for the children in their care, even as they initially deal with more traditional absentee parents or cumbersome teacher roles. Adults in Owl’s house they are not simply obstacles or unequivocal guardians; they have nuances and depth, and although the good guys struggle to understand, simply How to be a good role model, they continue to break through and give priority to protecting young people who admire them.
The first two seasons Owl’s house are available from Disney Plus. Season 3 premieres on YouTube.