A Character Dive Into Gus Porter from The Owl House
Hey, everyone. RJ Writing Ink here, and we’re back to look at yet another character from The Owl House to prep us for the series finale. Now, I wasn’t planning on including Gus in this series at first because, out of the Hexsquad, he seems to have the least development. However, since I’m already doing every other member of the Hexsquad, it’s only fair. It’s subtle compared to the other characters, but Gus grows and changes throughout the series. In addition, one of my favorite fanfics, the Luz Clawthorne Saga (urge you guys to check it out), does a lot with developing Gus, which merits my attention.
Full disclosure, this look back will be a little different in structure. Whereas my other posts in this series discuss each character in the order of episodes as per the show, since there’s not as much to work with for Gus, I’ll be jumping around a lot.
A Budding Young Artist With Odd Interests
When we first meet Augustus “Gus” Porter, one defining trait sticks out to everyone: he’s different from most other Witches. It’s not just because of the age gap between him and the other students at Hexside but due to his deep and abiding love for all things Human. He’s utterly fascinated by them and the bits and baubles of Human culture that leaks into the Boiling Isles (thanks, in part, to Eda), and while most Witches look down on them or treat them with indifference, he thinks they’re so cool. So when he meets a human living on the Boiling Isles, Luz Noceda, he’s like a kid in a candy store. It also helps that Luz, being the friendly person she is, quickly takes a liking to Gus. While it’s not mentioned outright, I think she appreciates someone who sees the value in the things from her world that she takes for granted.
In addition to his love of Human culture, Gus stands out for his skills in illusion magic, which many on the Boiling Isles don’t respect because of how useless they see it. Gus, though, enjoys it, as it allows him to revel in dramatic flair and demonstrate his talent at showmanship. If I’m being honest, if he were to use his powers on Earth for personal gain, he could easily become a wealthy and famous celebrity. In other words, I like Gus and most people around him like him. However, given his age, he’s also insecure about his path in life.
Fighting the Need to Feel Appreciated
Underneath his hammy tendencies, Gus is still a young child. And like many young children, he must earn respect and acceptance from his peers. However, since he’s so young, this has led others to take advantage of his naivete in the past. The flashback in the cold opening of “Labyrinth Runners” shows a pair of upper-level students pretending to be his friends so he’ll do all their school work. When he discovers the truth, he’s devastated and suffers a panic attack, causing him to lose control of his powers. It’s not until fellow outcast Willow steps in and helps him that he manages to get himself under control.
This trend of insecurity continues throughout the show in various episodes. For example, when Mat Thomomule threatens to usurp his place as head of the Human Appreciation Society, one of the few places where he’s respected, he tries sneaking Luz into Hexside to reassert himself, getting all of them in trouble and almost preventing Luz from ever enrolling in Hexside.
These insecurities pop up again in the season two episode “Through the Looking Glass Ruins.” when a mishap at school leaves Gus feeling more insecure about his status as an illusionist than ever, he starts to question if he should consider trying other forms of magic. When he sees a group of students from Glandus High using their non-illusion magic to help save a child, he tries to latch onto them to prove that he has what it takes to be a powerful Witch. However, since the Glandus students look down on illusion magic like many others on the Boiling Isles, he resorts to using Luz’s glyph magic to make himself look like something he’s not.
This all comes to a head when they make it to the Looking Glass ruins and discover the treasure it holds are stones that enhance illusion magic. While Gus reveres them, the Glandus students want to sell them off for money. Gus finally puts his foot down and stands up for himself, Mat Tholomule (who got roped into this), and illusionists in general. And as I stated in my review of the episode, he proves how powerful illusion magic can be. It reaffirms his love for the magic and allows him to become friends with Mat.
Finding an Older Brother in Hunter
Gus’s next big milestone involves the moment he first meets Hunter. After what he went through with the Glandus students, Gus is rightfully more guarded about who he trusts, especially since this involves his closest friend, Willow, and her happiness. That fear proves justified when Hunter reveals himself as the Golden Guard and nearly forces them all to join the Emperor’s Coven against their will. It also marks the beginning of a sibling relationship between the two boys that I think is great for both of them.
When they next meet in “Labyrinth Runners,” Hunter is far from the Golden Guard he once was. Having fled Emperor Belos’ wrath and hiding out at Hexside in squalor, Hunter’s attempts to intimidate Gus all fall flat. If anything, Gus takes pity on him when he sees how much of a nervous wreck he is, offering his lunch to the starving boy. Then Adrian Graye shows up at Hexside, trying to deceive the students and faculty into joining the Covens in preparation for the Day of Unity. It still makes me sick knowing that Belos wouldn’t even spare the young of the Boiling Isles. Thankfully, Graye’s plans fall through when Gus exposes his illusions. However, when Graye tries to induct him into a coven forcibly, Gus loses control of his powers. He casts an illusion across the entire school, an act that impresses the head of the Illusion Coven himself. That’s when Hunter steps in to save Gus, claiming it was thanks for the sandwich, and it’s not.
The rest of the episode, when not focusing on Willow and Amity, focuses on the budding bond between Gus and Hunter. I said in my review that they’ve developed a bond akin to that of brothers. They support each other, help each other with their problems, and save each other when they’re in trouble. Plus, Gus proves how powerful his magic is when he manages to beat the head of the Illusion Coven so bad he’s left catatonic!
Be Careful What You Wish for, Gus Porter
Despite their best efforts, Gus, Luz, and their friends and allies fail to stop the Day of Unity and have to fight for their lives against the monstrous Emperor Belos, barely being able to hold their own. It’s only when King frees The Collector that the Day of Unity’s stopped, but at the cost of letting the god-like child run free…and the Hexsquad being stranded on Earth.
Out of all the group, Gus is the one that takes this experience the hardest, visibly breaking down in tears while the rest of his friends can only look on in shock. When they finally make it to the Noceda’s house, Gus can only hide close to Hunter, who looks after him like an older brother should. He’s finally made it to the Human Realm, the place he’s always wanted to see, but in the worst way possible.
Despite all of this, though, once Gus has the chance to rest and think up a plan to get back home, his enthusiasm for Human culture returns. Getting to live with his friend Luz in her home with her mother and experience life there is still a dream come true for Gus, and he enjoys everything for all its worth. Sadly, due to Disney canning the show prematurely, the misadventures he gets up to on Earth will be left to fanfics. One thing that does happen to him is that he grows even closer to Hunter, the two bonding over the Sci-Fi series Cosmic Frontier, with the two becoming very much like brothers.
While he doesn’t have as big a role in “For the Future” as he could’ve, Gus does manage to deepen his relationship with Hunter when he reveals he was already aware of Hunter being a Grimwalker. He learned it when he saw Belos’ memories in “King’s Tide” and kept quiet out of respect for him, and it just shows how much Hunter’s come to mean to him.
Master Illusionist, Gus Porter
While Gus Porter may not have gotten as much character development as the rest of the major cast, I don’t think it’s due to a lack of effort. Given how the show got denied a third full season, I think we likely missed out on many things that we could’ve seen Gus experience on Earth. It would’ve been interesting to see how he interacted with the world he always dreamt of visiting or showing off his newfound knowledge to the rest of the Boiling Isles inhabitants. It also would’ve given him plenty of chances to address the self-doubt issues subtly plaguing him throughout the series. Still, the finale might surprise us. If Luz somehow finds a way to keep a portal to Earth open, he could live out his dream of bridging the two worlds together. Time will only tell, though.
So, what do you guys think? Do you think they could’ve done more with Gus’ character over the show’s run? Let me know in the comments below, and I will see you in the next character dive.
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