No but guys, GUYS, we need to talk about how important this scene is. Because the commonly accepted lore about unicorns is that they are so good and pure that they’ll only appear to young virginal girls. Because Molly Grue is a middle-aged woman who has been living with bandits for most of her life and is as far from innocent and virginal as you’re likely to get. Because she’s so angry that this creature, embodying everything that society tells her she’s lost, everything she’s thrown away through her own choices, is here now when all that The Unicorn represents is long since behind her. Because she knows, in a way that only someone who’s been steeped in an oppressive system her entire life can ever know, that she’s missed her chance and doesn’t deserve to be seeing a unicorn now.
And you know what? The Unicorn doesn’t give two fucks about her virginity, about her supposed loss of innocence and purity. She’s not repelled by Molly being older, being experienced, being a full human person. None of that has ever mattered to unicorns, only to the people telling stories about them. Not only does she step in to physically comfort her here, but before long this bandit’s wife becomes her friend, closer to her in most ways than Schmendrick.
This story is fucking revolutionary, you guys, and I just have a lot of feelings about it.
I heard Peter S. Beagle speak about this scene at a convention once. He said he just kept writing and writing into the scene and suddenly here was this powerful, moving dialogue which came out very strong and natural, flowing directly from inspiration.
He said it was one of those moments when “the writer just gets really lucky.”
Hard work and stubbornness, the other magic writer ingredients.