King: From Delusions of Grandeur to Wanting to Be Normal
A Deep Character Dive into King Clawthorne from The Owl House
I knew I would like King when I first saw him in the NYCC teaser for The Owl House in 2019. Voiced by none other than Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch himself, King proved to be one of the funniest characters on the show. Small in size but with an island-sized ego, King channeled a lot of Bill Cipher’s chaotic nature but largely lacked the latter’s malicious nature. He was a source for much of the show’s comedy, with his belief in his own greatness and zero impulse control made for a lot of entertaining moments. Then Season Two rolled around, and we discovered there was more to King than meets the eye. King’s growth over The Owl House has been remarkable, with one barely recognizing him in turns of personality by the time of the finale.
I’m RJ Writing Ink, and this is a deep character dive into everyone’s favorite bundle of chaos, King. Did I mention there are actually King plushies out there? More on that at the end, though.
Meet the King of Demons
Our first introduction to King is nothing short of comedic gold. From the shaking of the Owl House as he approaches to the deep, menacing voice…only to reveal it to belong to a tiny creature that looks like a furry version of a Cubone from Pokémon. Luz’s reaction sums up what most of us were thinking at the time:
King gets even funnier as the series premiere progresses as we see him act as a major source of comedy, frequently making funny remarks and sounds that endear him to Luz and the audience. Then we get to see his “Crown of Power” is little more than a paper toy from a fast-food joint on Earth. In other words, for all his boasting, King is little doing little more than that: boasting. Only how funny he is keeps him from looking sad and pathetic, wallowing in his delusions. Still, he has people that do care for him in the form of Eda the Owl Lady. And by the end of the episode, despite learning he’s not a king, Luz’s decision to keep treating him with respect wins him over. So when she decides to stick around in the Boiling Isles, he’s happy to have her.
A Routine Source of Comic Relief in the Show…and Hidden Angst
Throughout much of Season One, much of the series humor stems from the antics of the self-proclaimed King of Demons. His insistence on his own greatness, coupled with his complete lack of impulse control, frequently gets him into trouble, with Eda, Luz, or someone else having to bail him out. Such incidences include:
- Overfeeding a trash slug to the point where it tries to eat him
- Stealing Eda’s elixir and causing her to transform into the Owl Beast
- Talking Luz into initiating a Witch’s Duel with Amity that she has no chance of winning…and almost getting impaled on spikes.
- Swapping bodies with Luz and using it to wreak havoc on the Boiling Isles with a bunch of other teenagers
- Using Eda’s Owl Beast form to take control of the Slayground and getting her caught by beast hunters
- Rewriting his and Luz’s shared novel and passing it off as his own, getting him in hot water with his publisher
- Bringing his stuffed animals to life as his own army, only for them to mutiny
- Passing himself off as a substitute teacher at Hexside
- Shrinking Willow and Gus at a carnival to spend time with Luz
Those are just the moments shown on the show that we know about! The bottom line, King is one of the funniest aspects of the entire show, and he stays that way for much of the first season, which doesn’t have people take him all that seriously.
Underneath his comedic antics, though, lies someone who is deeply unhappy with his life. All King wants in life is for people to take him seriously and treat him with respect, something he finds impossible due to his small size and adorable appearance (which he does not like!) The only people who treat him with respect are Eda, Luz, and, to a lesser extent, Luz’s circle of friends. As a result, many of his actions throughout the first season stem from a desire to gain the respect and adoration of others.
Not helping matters is that, despite trying to deny it, he’s growing increasingly attached to Luz. She becomes the first person that treats him like he’s important, so he latches onto her quickly. It also leads him to go full yandere in “Really Small Problems,” and that doesn’t end well.
During the next season of the show, though, King undergoes a major shift in his character that effectively does away with a lot of his arrogant behavior.
Learning He’s Not Really a King of Demons…
In the season two episode “Echoes of the Past,” King drags Luz, Lilith, and Hooty to the hidden island that he claims to have ruled from and where Eda found him in his current state. While exploring the ruins, which look older than anything on the Boiling Isles and are guarded by some golem, it becomes apparent that there might be some semblance of truth to King’s boasting. At least, that’s what it seems like until Eda has to come in and bail everyone out, and that’s when she decides to reveal the truth about how she found King.
While hiding from the Emperor’s Coven and boiling rain one day, Eda stumbled upon King’s island and found an infant King living there by himself in the ruins, making little statues out of rocks. She took him home and got him the collar thinking he was a pet, until she heard him say his first word: “King.” That’s where he got his name from. So Eda started telling him all these stories about what Kings do, and his muddled memories convinced him that he was an actual King. Eda only played with it because she knew how happy it made him.
This revelation shakes King to his core, prompting him to run off in denial. That’s not surprising. If someone were to learn that what they believed about themselves for most of their lives was a lie, they would react the same way. As a result, King loses many of the delusions of grandeur he once had and becomes more considerate and introspective, showing his character growth at last. However, this also opens up the mystery about who, or what, King really is, something that becomes a recurring plot point for the rest of the season.
Officially Becoming a Clawthorne and Discovering His Powers
Throughout much of the season, King’s arc focuses on him trying to learn more about his past, discovering who he is, where he came from, and if he still has family left. At first, this might lead to King leaving the Owl House behind, but despite learning the truth about himself, King decides that his adoptive family still matters to him. As a result, the end to “Eda’s Requiem” leads him to send out a message, hoping his father will see it, while also announcing his decision to legally become a Clawthorne, making him Eda’s son. It’s a big moment for him, and a lot of people were happy to see it.
Despite this, though, King still deals with a lot of emotional turmoil due to not knowing who he is. He is going through puberty, so there are the hormones to consider. In “Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hooty’s Door,” Hooty tries to help King overcome his problems, and while things don’t go as planned, they end up helping him. He finds out that he has some kind of voice-based, sonic powers, something that he starts to train with.
The Big Revelation
“Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hooty’s Door” ends with Hooty receiving a letter from someone who looks very much like King in appearance, leaving it to be addressed at another point in the future. However, it’s not until the episode “Edge of the World” and after the revelation of who Belos is that Hooty remembers the letter, which is revealed to be from a group of people from an island far away that claims they are King’s people. Thus, Luz, King, and Hooty journey beyond the Boiling Isles, thinking they’ll finally find King’s homeland and allies against Belos.
At first, everyone on this island, revealed to be a group that hunts down Titans, the same ones whose bodies make up the lands of the Demon Realm, treats King like one of their own. For the first time, King thinks he’s finally found his place in the world. However, that’s when Luz inadvertently makes a discovery that changes everything. King isn’t a Titan Trapper…he’s a Titan.
Fans of The Owl House had been speculating that King had some connection to the Titans for a long time. His head is very similar in appearance to the head of the Titan that makes up the Boiling Isles. However, this revelation, coupled with the fact that he might be the last of his kind, is still a major shock to King and Luz. Barely making it off the island, they return home feeling sad than ever, with King realizing that the Titan of the Boiling Isles is likely his own relative.
Wanting to Be Normal and Freeing the Collector
After going into hiding with Eda and Lilith after the Owl House gets ransacked by the Emperor’s Coven, Luz and King grapple with recent events, with Lilith and Eda learning that King’s a Titan. Since the people of the Boiling Isles worship the Titan religiously, this technically makes King a god to them, something that Lilith is eager to act upon.
This is where King gets to truly show off his character development. Whereas he would’ve happily accepted the adulation of the people as their god, King reacts to Lilith’s worship by being creeped out. He doesn’t want anything to do with that stuff anymore, and wants people to see him for who he is, not what he is. It’s a very big moment, and it shows that King could’ve ended up a far worse person without Eda and Luz in his life. However, as much as he doesn’t want to, King finds himself being dragged into even stranger things as he starts hearing the voice of the imprisoned Collector.
All of this culminates in the season finale of “King’s Tide,” which sees Belos’ plans for genocide get enacted. Despite everyone’s best efforts, they fail to stop the draining spell from activating, and Luz and her friends can barely hold their own against the mad Emperor. Thus, it falls to King to save the day by freeing the Collector, who he learns is a god-like being imprisoned by the Titan of the Boiling Isles, his own father.
Ultimately, King’s decision works, with the Boiling Isles saved from Belos’ mad plans. However, it also means that the Collector, a kid with questionable morality and whose only interested in playing games, is set free on the Boiling Isles. It’s only thanks to King creating the game of “The Owl House” that the Isles aren’t outright destroyed, while King is forced to send Luz and her friends to Earth for their safety, stranding them there.
Becoming the Responsible One for the Collector
When we next see King in “For the Future,” we learn what he’s been doing all the time Luz and the others were on Earth. Having turned the Boiling Isles into his playground, the Collector’s free to do whatever he wants, with no one able to stop him. No one, that is, save for King.
King and the Collector are perfect foils to each other, with the latter essentially being what King would’ve been like had he had all the power he wanted and none of the character development. In other words, someone like Bill Cipher. Thanks to having Luz and Eda in his life to keep him grounded, King’s able to curb the Collector’s darker side, coming up with games to entertain him and doing his best to keep the Boiling Isles safe.
Around the same time, Luz and the others return to the Boiling Isles, King, Eda, and Lilith make an important discovery. It’s revealed that in ancient times, the Titans and the Collector’s people were natural enemies, with the Titans powers able to cancel out the Collector’s reality-warping abilities. In other words, King could manage to re-imprison or even kill the Collector if he used his full powers. But King doesn’t want that.
Despite everything the Collector’s capable of doing, King’s the only one that understands that for all his power, he’s still just a kid. A lonely kid who was misunderstood by his people and just wanted friends. He doesn’t even realize that what he’s doing is hurting people. However, King thinks if he could talk to him, he could make him understand that what he’s doing is wrong and make him restore things freely. Too bad for us, Belos gets to the Collector first and convinces the child King betrayed him.
From Delusional Child to Potential Savior of the Boiling Isles
I love King, and he’s one of Alex Hirsch’s best performances to date. I love his design, behavior, and most importantly, seeing how much he’s grown throughout the show’s run. He went from being comic relief to an integral part of the heroes’ plans to saving the Boiling Isles.
With the series finale on the horizon, I am still determining what will happen with King. I don’t even know if King will end up surviving the finale as he is. I do know, though, that he will play a big role in resolving matters, and I hope that he and The Owl House residents get their happy ending.
Buy King’s Plushies.
Remember what I promised about those plushies? Here’s how you can get them.
Welcome to Mystery Shack, a website dedicated to making and selling fan-made and officially licensed content from some of the best cartoons. They’ve got everything from Gravity Falls to Steven Universe to Star vs., and they’ve got plenty of stuff for The Owl House. Besides several plushie versions of King, they’ve also got cosplay items, pins, posters, and more available. While the shack’s closed at the time of this writing to prep for The Owl House series finale, it will be open on April 8th, 2023, at 10:30 PM EST, right after the finale airs. If you want something to remember The Owl House by, then you should try the Mystery Shack.
Click the Link Here When it Reopens: www.themysteryshack.com
See you all in the next character dive!
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