Larry DiTillio answers questions specifically relating to
"The Dragon's Gift" episode from He-Man's
one of the first few lines in the episode, you touch upon
Adam's playboy image. Was this something you liked about
Though this is probably a line which fairly zoomed over
the heads of our younger audience members. But such lines
do play for older audience members and to my way of thinking
this is what makes a cartoon show acceptable for FAMILY
viewing, i.e. something for the kids AND something for the
adults. Besides we didn't want to make Prince Adam TOO Clark
this episode, Adam's entrance involved he and Cringer tumbling
into the throne room. Is it right to think that you loved
using a comical moment to show Randor's embarrassment of
This kind of slapstick fun always made King Randor crazy
while at the same time made Prince Adam just a bit more
lovable as a character.
you ever contemplate having King Randor actually touch the
gift from Skeletor?
I really wanted Teela to have the greatest stakes in this
episode so I stuck to Man-At-Arms. It also created some
tension between He-Man and Teela when He-Man decides not
to chop down Skytree.
transformation into Battle Cat was amusing in this episode.
Did you just think of it as you were writing that scene,
or was that something that caught your eye?
we did Cringer trying to stave off the magic that turns
him into Battle Cat so many times, we always were on the
lookout for a new way to do it. This one just popped into
my head at the time.
did the name "Weird of Crystal" come from?
made it up. Instead of using weird as an adjective I used
it as a noun, kind of like "The weirding way"
place the characters in a library, and again this happens
in "House of Shokoti" Part 1. Did you like the
idea of having the characters researching their mission?
did but there was also more to it. In doing a kid's show
you want to show things like reading in a very positive
light, so kids will want to emulate their heroes and read
a book. This is why I often had He-Man and friends turn
to books in solving a dilemma. I did it in other cartoon
shows as well.
did you come up with the language for the Trolls of Darksmoke?
was a roleplay gamer (Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels
& Trolls etc.) and often made up languages for
use in games. It was something I always liked doing. I wanted
the Troll lingo to be kind of guttural, hence all the G's
and K's. BTW - When I do make up languages, it isn't just
gibberish, in my head I know what the characters speaking
the tongue are saying so I can pace it for the voice actors
and the director. Which is not to say that almost 20 years
later I still remember what the words mean. But I can pretty
well figure out what I had in mind from the context.
was the relationship between the Trolls of Darksmoke and
were his guards. I have a fondness for Trolls and liked
having them be something more than just monsters.
it always your intention to have Granamyr appear at the
very end of Act One so dramatically?
course. This was a BIG moment and I took great care with
it, using almost an entire page of the script to describe
all the details of his first appearance.
did the idea come from to have Granamyr constantly belittling
He-Man? Was this already developed in "The Isle of
had a very low opinion of the human race so it was very
much in his nature to belittle He-Man. In "The Isle
of Darksmoke," he was much the same and was placed
there so my players would come across something They absolutely
had no chance of beating and thus were forced to negotiate.
BTW - For those of you who are totally lost at this moment,
"The Isle of Darksmoke" was a Tunnels &
Trolls role play scenario I wrote for Flying Buffalo
Inc. It was printed with a beautiful cover by Michael Whelan
and I was very proud of it. I wrote it before I went to
work on He-Man and when I decided to do a story
about a dragon I simply borrowed the name from myself.
did Skytree come from? Did you just want something older
than Granamyr that wasn't in any physical form?
trees are physical forms, yes? But to answer the question,
I wanted something older than Granamyr and instead of opting
for a monster I went for a tree. To me this was more magical
and helped keep the tension going. If it had been an evil
dragon or something of that nature, it is doubtful He-Man
would have hesitated as he did with the tree. As for the
name, you caught me stealing from myself again. It comes
from an unpublished Dungeons & Dragons scenario
I wrote called "Skytree and Stone Glade."
what is/was the exact age of Granamyr and Skytree? :)
will be 2,051 on February 16th 2001; Skytree turns 20,075
on September 9th 2001.
Tullamore's Irish accent something that surprised you?
at all. He was written with the brogue, and named after
Tullamore Dew a fine Irish whiskey.
Tullamore's incantation "Tora McMorn" supposed
to mean anything?
is an incantation designed to trigger a teleportation spell.
I suppose one could translate it as "I'm outta here."
states that "A Man-At-Arms saved the forest from the
Witches of Fire." Did you always try and insert Eternian
history into scripts?
It was part of my style to always have this sense of great
magical events occurring throughout Eternia's long history.
lot of films nowadays have twists, but I still think that
"The Dragon's Gift" twist (Granamyr accepts the
gift of life) was very surprising. Did you always envisage
this twist at the end? And do you consider it to be a twist?
definitely a twist in that the audience was never used to
seeing He-Man fail and he was willing to sacrifice himself
as well. I imagine there was a few tense moments for our
younger audience there.
did this story develop, and were there any other alternative
routes you nearly took?
first assignment for He-Man was a rewrite of a
script called "The Time Corridor." After completing
it, I pitched about 6 more stories to Arthur Nadel and he
turned them all down. Figuring I was finished, I went back
to a heinous nine to five job until Arthur called me and
asked me where I had been all these weeks. I told him I
thought he was no longer interested in having me write for
the show. He said nonsense, just because they didn't like
the first stories I pitched, I shouldn't stop trying (this
by the way was my first major lesson in living the writer's
life - never take a rejection personally). So I came up
with 3 more stories one of which was "The Dragon's
Gift." The main premise of the story was that Granamyr
was something He-Man couldn't defeat with physical strength.
Arthur bought it and another of the three (and would you
believe I can't remember that one!) and when I finished
the first draft of it and turned it in, Filmation offered
me a permanent job on He-Man.
know Robert Lamb wasn't too keen on the final design of
Granamyr, but were you?
it wasn't quite how I envisioned Granamyr and I absolutely
HATED the silly hat. I remember trying to knock it off his
head and destroy it in one of the sequel scripts but no
way would they let me get away with it. I did want something
a little more majestic (much like the Chinese Dragon I wrote
about in an episode of Conan the Adventurer later
in my career). However Granamyr had a great voice and he
grew on me.
it always your aim to bring back Granamyr again in "The
Return of Granamyr" and "Disappearing Dragons"?
sure. Why wouldn't it be? If you have a character that good
you always want to find another story to use them in. Besides
I have a thing for talking dragons.
this your favorite episode that you have written?
tend to shy away from the "favorites" stuff, but
it would definitely fall into the category of one of my
question time: Who would win in a fight, Superman or Granamyr?
boy, that's a stupid question alright. :^) Only kidding.
But the answer is obvious, since I also wrote two Superman
episodes later in my career. Say it with me now folks: what
is Superman vulnerable to? Kryptonite and MAGIC. And since
Granamyr wielded very ancient magics Superman would be a
goner in any dust-up with him.