Posting early, since I have a very long day tomorrow and Wednesday! Enjoy!
Chapter 20: So, I Married a Dragon…
A Guest Post for the Riding with the Mouse Net-log by animator Andreas Deja
With the completion of principal animation on The Swan Princess
, Richard Rich was tagged for more Richie Rich
work. But Jim and Roy wanted more from me, so I was partnered with Rob Minkoff after his co-director on The Lion King
Glen Keane was promoted to Creative Vice President for Feature Animation.
The instructions that Roy and Jim had for us were simple: “something Chinese”. The People’s Republic was opening up under Qiao Shi and there was a desire to tap into that growing market while also expanding the scope of the Disney Princess line for Bo Boyd. We met with some Chinese mythology experts and came to Roy and Jim with a few options. At first the Moon Princess Chang’e seemed a natural, but it was a limited story and was superficially too much like the Japanese Bamboo Princess, who also came from the moon. The tragic Butterfly Lovers was a very short and simple tragic tale, so that was a no-go (maybe for WED-Sig), and their relationship also had superficial resemblance to Aladdin and Abbi in the “she’d dressed like a guy and they fell in love after the reveal” thing. Similar problems killed a story based on Fa Mulan, which honestly had a lot of epic potential.
To be honest, I was starting to think that Roy was taking some of the evangelical complaints about Aladdin
and The Little Mermaid
seriously, particularly since he kept mentioning that we didn’t need “another crossdressing story”.
“You know I’m perfectly fine with gay people,” Roy said , “but we do have a family reputation to uphold.”
I love you Roy, I really do.
The Princess Kwan-Yin seemed a natural at first, with a pure-of-heart Princess rejecting an arranged marriage and being put to work by wicked nuns. She even had friendly forest animals to help her! But it was not very action heavy and a bit too much like “The Swan Princess
” and there was a fear that it would look like we were just resting on our laurels. Jim wanted us to push the boundaries.
That at first led us to The Legend of Lady White Snake
, which has nothing to do with an all-female ‘80s hair metal cover band, Jim’s bad dad jokes non-withstanding.
The Legend of Lady White Snake (image source Wikipedia)
The story had lived on and evolved over the centuries, from the tale of a monk defeating a seductive and evil snake spirit that had enchanted a prince into a story of forbidden love that cast the snake lady and her husband as the heroes and victims of the monk’s jealousy and bigotry. It seemed perfect and we had some great storyboards.
The problem was, of course, that John Musker and Ron Clements were already in production on Medusa
, which recast her and Perseus as lovers rather than opponents! That was a rock opera and we could have taken things in a different direction there, but no…we were stuck.
We re-pitched Fa Mulan, but Roy still wasn’t having it.
Besides, we all remembered hearing about how much the Chinese complained about Mask of the Monkey King
for getting their stories wrong
In short, we needed something original.
We did notice some patterns and common motifs in Chinese legends. There were a lot of legends of tragic, forbidden romances, often between a celestial being and a mortal. There were often fantastic beasts like Dragons and Qilins and mystic snakes who could take human form. That seemed like a place to take things.
What about a Dragon Princess? Just the name had potential. There was a legend of a Dragon’s Daughter gifting an Emperor with magic pearls, but perhaps a celestial dragon princess who falls for a poet? Something inspired by White Snake Lady, but a different, original story.
The Poet and the Dragon
was thus born.
No connection to the Miyazawa Kenji novel The Dragon and the Poet
, whose existence we learned about much later, and which is a totally different story. Also, there is no truth to the rumors that we took our name from the Chinese film The Warrior Poet
, though its success did help us push back against those who feared the name would alienate audiences.
But Marketing still hated the name. “No kid will want to see something about poetry!” they said. But since the proposed alternate names were awful (“My Girlfriend the Dragon”? Really?) the working title became the final title and frankly didn’t seem to make a difference.
So, to keep things very much different from Medusa
, we made the Dragon Princess Longzhu (literally “Dragon Pearl”) an outgoing girly free spirit instead of a tragic romantic and our poet-philosopher Meng Yun (“Dream Cloud” – this was years before the mattress company, mind you!) a melancholic dreamer rather than a warrior. He’d be a hopeless romantic struggling to keep his spirits up in the drudgery of the bureaucracy while dreaming of more. She’d appear in his life, sew chaos, they’d fall in love, and run afoul of the Celestial Order by loving one another, with dangerous consequences.
Nowadays they call Longzhu a “Magic Dragon Girlfriend”, even saying that we even named  the trope! But that trope never applied, because Longzhu had her own dreams and desires and was more than an empty wish fulfilment fantasy and living plot device for the guy, like in the many copycat films that came later.
Instead, this was a simple “opposites attract” love story, and built on equal terms, I might add. With romantic music by Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken, naturally, with Yo Yo Ma on board to help with the musical arrangement and East/West mix. While rather classically Broadway, they none the less used Chinese traditional instrumentation, timing, and keys to give it a Chinese feel, which meant “working between the notes” and Schwartz put it, since the Chinese use entirely different musical scales than the West.
From The Cowherd’s Flute
(1963) (Image source Annency.org)
And we the artists, having seen the old Chinese animated feature The Cowherd's Flute
among others as part of our research, all fell in love with the art style, which quoted old Chinese ink and watercolor scrolls and painted screens. We decided to mimic that style to a degree, but in a distinctly Disney way, sort of a hybrid between East and West, sort of like some of the transitions in The Bamboo Princess
. We learned the art of Chinese painting and travelled to China for research and initial concept art, which was an adventure in its own right!
Then came the cast and characterization, which we developed together so that they could inform one another in an organic way.
Meng, voiced by Jonathan Ke Quan with singing by Donny Osmond, became a creative young man with a poetic heart who struggles with the drudgery of working in the Imperial Bureaucracy, with an obnoxious and abusive boss Zhengfangxing (literally “square”), voiced by James Hong. We introduce Meng in the mechanistic and droning opening song “Celestial Order” timed by the metronome-like clacking of abacus beads, a clumsy man out of step with the clocklike rhythm of the other bureaucrats working at their desks. Eventually his lyrics, which play in flowing counterpoint to the staccato chorus of bureaucrats (kind of like in the song “Inchworm” that Jim loves so much), break away, becoming his “I Want”, which speaks to a desire for a philosophical connection to the greater Celestial Order that goes beyond the bureaucratic and into the divine and transcendent. “A Celestial Love” is a critical foreshadowing line.
This song then carries us up past white clouds and into the stars of the Heavens and up to the young dragon Longzhu, voiced by Lucy Liu with singing by Lea Salonga. She starts to sing her own flowing version of the song as she flies through the clouds and among the stars, the Celestial Bureaucrats (various mythical creatures) mirroring the chorus of the Earthly Bureaucrats. She is the eldest daughter of the Mountain Dragon Shan Long (George Cheung) and has a pithy younger sister Longhua (Dragon Flower, voiced and sung by Ming-Na Wen). Longzhu sings her own “I Want” lyrics, of wanting something real, a connection to the “Heart of the Earth” and meaning beyond the bureaucratic work of running the heavens and making the planets rotate and the stars flare and the moon wax and wane.
With this song we link them and their desires, but also set them apart. We deliberately used Yin and Yang concepts with the black and empty Yin-like heavens and the busy, organized, life-filled Yang-like earth. And while Longzhu is a female (Yin) from a Yin-like place, she has that “spot” of Yang in her lively demeanor: playful and romantic and upbeat, and chaotic on the outside like Yin, but with a Yang-like warmth and light and need for purpose at her heart. This plays against Meng’s melancholic, morose nature, a man in love with life and beauty and other Yang-things and part of a structured Confucian order, but with a touch of the coldness and emptiness of the Yin at his heart. The suggestion is that as Yin and Yang together they complete each other. And yet both together have the fatal flaw of being impractical dreamers in a hyper-organized Confucian universe where “everyone and everything have their place,” as both Zhengfangxing and Shan Long like to say.
So Meng wanders into the mountains with his chirping pet cricket, which he calls Jie Mei Ni or (roughly) “little sister who hides” (but sound it out yourself for an Easter egg!) and exposits to her about how much the mountains mean to him since they remind him of the Heavens. Longzhu, meanwhile, ignores her sister’s warnings not to mingle with “those below” and descends to Earth and blissfully flies through those same mountains, always just outside of Meng’s sight as he exposits. At one point he notices her flying by and tells the cricket, “Oh my, a dragon! It is very good luck to see a dragon!”
He then sits before the setting sun over a beautiful lake, pulls out some ink and paper, and starts to write a romantic poem about the sunset, narrating it to the largely disinterested Jie Mei Ni, who manages to make a chirp feel like an exasperated sigh (thanks to the great Frank Welker). As Meng recites, Longzhu appears behind him, terrifying the cricket, but Meng is oblivious as this huge dragon hovers above him, listening to his recited poem. She seems intrigued, and ultimately assumes a human form as a beautiful young woman, just as he turns around.
Something like this, but with a young, clean-shaven man (Image source “weingartdesign.com”)
She approaches in a friendly manner, but he’s nervous and embarrassed and acts afraid. While she wants to hear more and asks him to read her more, he keeps trying to avoid her eyes and ultimately comes up with an excuse and runs away with a shriek. We played it a little ironic: when he saw her as a dragon and was enthralled and happy, but when he sees her as a beautiful woman, he is terrified, in reverse of the usual trope of falling for the beauty and being afraid of the beast.
But she is now curious about this strange poet, and pines away to her little sister that she wants to find out more about him, which sister Longhua snarkishly tells her is dumb and beneath her station. “Dad would kill you, sis.”
And while they talk, the demonic King Yan of the underworld (Mako) is watching all through a magic portal, and tells his thin and glutinous minion E Gui (Phil Fondacaro doing his best Peter Lorre) that this is the perfect opportunity to shake up the Celestial Order and “bring forth a new era of terror and darkness,” with a maniacal laugh like only Mako can do.
Actually, quite a bit like this… (Image Gamespot)
So we return to Meng, who has returned to his desk where Zhengfangxing admonishes him to pay attention. Zhengfangxing teaches Meng and the other bureaucrats the correct hanzi characters for the scrolls they are making for the Daoist monks, who will use the incantations to banish ghosts, but Meng is finding it hard to focus, having visions of the strange woman he met in the mountains. As he leaves the building, he bumps into her. She smiles. He smiles. He screams and runs away.
This leads into the “Worlds Apart” duet, which plays during a montage of her seeking him out, and surprising him in various locations. It serves as a falling in love montage, where Meng ultimately throws away his abacus, pulls Zhengfangxing’s hat down around his eyes and runs away laughing with Longzhu and they appear ready to live happily ever after.
And here’s one of those moments where Real Life came in. Originally, we were going with the usual sappy, happy sunshine and cute music montage with Happiness Eternal as they Fall in Love. But hearing from Terrell about the ongoing drama in his personal life (albeit the typical minor and pedestrian “you annoy the one you love” stuff rather than anything relationship-threatening) I insisted that we add some unhappy
moments for our couple, some hard-times Yin to balance the happy-times Yang. So, in addition to sharing an accidental hand-touch or Perfect Moment with Birds and Carp by the pond, we’d have him say something (soundless behind the montage) and her get angry and dump a bowl of rice on his head. Or him freaking out because she straightened up his messy room and now his things are out of order. We wanted those little complications to add verisimilitude to the relationship. It was something that I learned from Miyazaki-san.
So, by the time the montage is done we (hopefully) have you convinced that this love is real and meaningful. But Longzhu’s father Shan Long soon finds out from her sister what has happened and he is furious. He flies down and confronts them, but she rejects his admonishments to return to the heavens and she transforms back into a dragon and carries a terrified and confused Meng away in her mouth as her father screams after her.
Meng seems at first shocked by her appearance as a dragon, screaming as she carries him through the sky. And initially, once she sets him down and tells him the situation, he freaks out. “I can’t marry a dragon!! It’s against the Celestial Order! My family would never approve!!” Then there’s a moment of coming-to, recognizing the reality of the situation, and, finally, an acceptance and catharsis:
“So…you’re the dragon I saw that day, aren’t you?”
“Um…yes,” she says. “Is that ok?”
“Um…” says Meng, and after a tense pause: “Yea. It’s OK. I mean, it’s still you
in there, right?”
To this day I take particular pleasure in slipping in one of the most subtle queer coded scenes in Disney history. Poor Roy managed to avoid “another crossdressing story” by refusing Fa Mulan, but he unknowingly got instead one hell of a Trans love story!
And as a bonus Rob even found a team of young animators who made us a Short telling the story of Fa Mulan to play before the film!
Something like this (Image source “peakpx.com”)
And speaking of disapproving patriarchs, Shan Long is both infuriated and scared for his daughter, fearing that the Celestial Order will not approve of this “disharmonious” relationship. And that is when he is approached by King Yan, who in the menacing song “Hearts and Minds” sells Shan Long a mystical potion that will constrain her “stubbornness” and have her obey him “like a proper daughter”.
But as Yan exposits to E Gui after the fact, in part through a darker reprise of “Hearts and Minds”, in truth the potion will separate her eternal Chi from her external form, resulting in an empty shell. Yan, in turn, will claim her Chi (and by extension her soul), giving him, along with his shelf full of jade jars containing other creatures’ and mortals’ Chi, great powers with which he can challenge the Celestial Order and remake the Heavens and Earth in his own diabolical image. “The Chi of a Dragon shall make me…unstoppable!” Cue maniacal laugh.
And oh, my lord, Mako’s singing! So
not professional, but so over-the-top awesome
Anyway, Shan Long, now planning on slipping his daughter the potion “for her own good”, pretends to have a change of heart and invites Meng and his daughter into his abode in the Heavens, just wanting to “make sure” that his daughter is “happy and harmonious”. Meng is scared and suspicious and younger sister Longhua is irritated about who’s coming to dinner, but Longzhu is ecstatic and shrieking in naïve joy. This leads to the obligatory Awkward Dinner with the Family, made all the more awkward given that Meng as a human can’t eat the bizarre mystical food of dragons (“Is there something wrong with your eternally burning pearls of celestial fire?” “I, um…have trouble handling, um, spicy foods”) and given that Longhua keeps bullying and intimidating him (“Come on, sis, can’t I have just one little bite?”). As hijinks ensue (such as an assumption by the shaggy Qilin chef, voiced by Tommy Chong, that Meng intended to eat
his cricket rather than just feed it; “why didn’t you just say so, man?”), sister Longhua, though unimpressed by the clumsy “mortal”, starts to see the love in her sister’s eyes and Meng’s alike and, in a heartwarming sister moment punctuated by the duet “Devotion”, gives her blessing to the union.
Shan Long starts to warm to Meng as well, punctuated by their own lyrics for “Devotion”, but still fearing the Celestial repercussions of the marriage, reluctantly slips the potion into his daughter’s tea, singing his own ironic closing lines to “Devotion”.
Needless to say, the many meanings and interpretations of the word “devotion” play out in the song.
Now heartbreak ensues as Longzhu drinks from the spiked tea that her father gives her and her Chi/soul slips out of her mouth in a jade-green cloud just out of her dad’s sight. The Chi sinks down through the Earth and into King Yan’s realm in Diyu and is soon imprisoned in a jade jar by a laughing King Yan, and added to the many other identical jars on his infernal shelf.
Longzhu’s empty body, now the perfect, demure, obedient daughter to Shan Long, politely acquiesces to her father’s demands and passionlessly tells a heartbroken Meng that they cannot be together.
A shocked and suspicious Longhua now carries a devastated Meng back to the Earth. He, alone with his cricket again, sings the heartrending “An Empty Heart” and Longhua sings her own suspicious version seeing her supposed sister as the early second act ends in tears.
This midpoint gave us the moment where the themes established in Celestial Order are reflected and commented upon. Pursuit of an established idea of “Order” has led Shan Long to betray his daughter and take away her agency while simultaneously (and ironically) giving the evil King Yan the very tools he needs to overturn the Celestial Order.
This leads into the second half of the story, starting in the Heavens, where Shan Long seems superficially happy with his newly obedient and “perfectly harmonious” daughter Longzhu. But his younger daughter Longhua is furious with him. “You did something to her!” she accuses, ignoring his denials. She soon discovers the truth when he sees her father arguing with E Gui, who informs him that King Yan now demands his obedience in “the coming war”, or he will claim Shan Long’s Chi too. Shan Long learns, as does the eavesdropping Longhua, that Longzhu’s soul belongs to King Yan now, “freely given” in tribute by her own father.
Longhua gasps and as E Gui vanishes, she confronts her father, who admits to everything. Longhua is irate and tells him to join her in going into Diyu, the land of the dead and damned, and retrieve his daughter’s Chi. But Shan Long states that no Celestial may enter the realm. “Then I will find someone who can!” she says, and flies off. As Shan Long stands in shock, mouth agape, the empty shell of Longzhu appears and politely but vacuously offers him Baozi and tea.
Longhua flies to Meng and tells him everything. Though a normally a scared and hesitant person, he pledges to her that “the fires of the underworld cannot keep me from my love.” Suddenly in Action Hero mode, he hands her the cricket cage and walks boldly through the portal to Diyu that Longhua creates for him. Suddenly, surrounded by demons and fires as the portal closes behind him, he starts to rethink his impulsive decisions and runs shrieking.
The newly all-powerful King Yan, meanwhile, ascends from Diyu and into the Heavens, a powerful, flaming giant in a nod to “A Night on Bald Mountain” in Fantasia with the score giving us chords to match. He confronts the Celestial Powers, and brushes aside their forces, declaring himself Celestial Emperor. And “no one can stop me!”
This is where the animators had their challenge. We mixed hand-drawn/digitally inked and painted animation with CG, particularly to control the many Celestial Warriors assaulting the giant King Yan. The flow worked very well, and was reasonably cost-effective while being dynamic and visually beautiful on the big screen. The bright blue of King Yan’s flames played well against the cold darkness of the heavens, the dark sides of Yin and Yang expressed visually…or so we hope.
The Ten Courts of Diyu (needless to say, the Disney version is far less gruesome)
We transition back to Meng, who we follow, to the song “Fires Inside”, as he dodges demons and monsters and ghosts amid the blue flames of the infernal land. The chorus of Tortured Souls is mechanistic in a reflection of the bureaucrats’ chorus in “Celestial Order” as he sings his determined song in counterpoint. We took great inspiration from Chinese artwork in its depiction of the hell-like land of the dead.
Sneaking past various infernal guards and forces, Meng finally reaches King Yan’s abode, with all of the Chi Jars in front of him, in apparent triumph, when E Gui appears before him.
“Hello, tasty morsel!” says E Gui.
Where the Heavens were warm colors, oranges and golds with a touch of soft blue, the Underworld is all blues and silvers, butane-blue flames and grey and black smoke wit ha touch of harsh blood red. Again, Yin-Yang symbolism was central to our art direction.
Back in the Heavens, all are cowering before King Yan, who has defeated all the armies of Heaven, with the color pallet symbolically shifting into the blues and silvers and away from the orange and gold. But one being stands up to him: Longhua. She challenges him to single combat for the throne. He laughs, and proceeds to attack her with literal hellfire, which she struggles to avoid. She finally manages to bite him, drawing black blood, but he starts to blast her with his fire, pulling her Chi from her. Suddenly, hearing his daughter’s cries across the Heavens, Shan Long rushes in, confronting Yan and offers his own Chi in return for that of both of his daughters. King Yan, agrees…to take all
of their Chi! He is soon pulling out Shan Long’s Chi as well, laughing maniacally as only Mako can.
You’ve got to see the special features of Mako recording his lines if you haven’t already!
Back in Diyu, Meng is fleeing around Yan’s lair from E Gui, but as he throws or swings things, they pass right through the incorporeal ghost, who assures Meng that this will not prevent E Gui from devouring him alive. Meng then remembers the calligraphy that he had to make for Zhengfangxing, the special phrase for the Daoist priests to chase away ghosts. He strains his memory and remembers the chant, which he recites after a few clumsy takes. This causes E Gui to distort and disappear with a pop. Approaching the shelves, unsure which of the hundreds of jars contains Longzhu’s Chi, he just starts smashing them all, freeing soul after soul in ascending jade-green clouds.
In the Heavens, Yan is pulling the Chi away from Shan Long and
Longhua, when suddenly he shrinks slightly as a slight puff of green smoke escapes from his mouth with a burp. This happens again and again and again, until jade clouds billow relentlessly from his toothy maw (I took a poetry class for this assignment, can you tell?
). We cut between Diyu and the Heavens as each soul released by Meng leaves Yan smaller and weaker.
We get a montage of various beings and creatures having their souls restored, and regaining some measure of personal autonomy, including many of the beat-down human bureaucrats, including Zhengfangxing himself!!
Eventually, Meng smashes Longzhu’s jar. Her Chi form appears before him, smiles and vanishes into the air. We now follow her Chi as it darts up to her home in the Heavens, bolts back into her vacant body’s mouth, and suddenly Longzhu is awake…and pissed (we had a lot of fun with the transforming facial expressions from vacuous cheer to absolute rage there!).
Back in Diyu, Meng is smashing the last of the Chi jars when a portal appears and Longzhu’s arm appears and yanks him through into the Heavens. Soon he is on her shoulders flying through the clouds and stars, joined by a whole army of other celestial creatures, who thank Meng for freeing them. They rush in and surround the now small and weak King Yan. As Longzhu rushes to embrace her father and sister, the other restored souls descend in a circle upon Yan, who screams “no! No! Please! I beseech you for mercy! NOOO!!!” as they approach. We pan away as Something Bad happens to him just off camera.
The final confrontation was designed to be the culmination of the prior actions: Meng’s self-actualization, Shan Long’s repentance, Longhua’s devotion, and Longzhu’s re-empowerment. And Yan’s deserved punishment, of course. We overtly worked to make each of the main characters multidimensional and self-actualizing, with Longzhu’s loss of self being the greatest crime that we see. We could have made Longzhu as empty of a shell of a love interest as the potion left her from the beginning, but we instead made her a self-confident and outgoing, if naïvely romantic to balance Meng. Her sister Longhua could have been a shallow snippy snarker to be little more than her sister’s foil, but we wanted her to have a complex relationship with her family, particularly with her sister. It should be no surprise to the viewer that she’s the one who sets up the final battle. And Shan Long could have been a standard issue overbearing father, but we wanted him to be complex and conflicted, Parochial without being patronizing, and made his big sin against his daughter an action taken out of misplaced love rather than empty anger.
And now reunited, we follow our three dragons with Meng on Longzhu’s shoulders as they fly along. “You went through Diyu for my daughter,” says Shan Long. “I can think of no one better to bring joy and harmony to her life.”
And there’s your lesson, kids: love isn’t a magical fait accompli
, it’s a series of ups and downs, and true love is a willingness to go through hell to be there for the ones you love. Terrell and his wife both thanked us for that one, and said that it really helped them recontextualize a hard time in their own lives caused by the move to Florida.
And that brings us to the obligatory wedding scene with the chorus singing “The Poet and the Dragon”, with fireworks and music. Longhua bumps into Zhengfangxing of all people, and they make snarky comments together, Statler and Waldorf style, about the whole event, finally turning and smiling to each other just as the bouquet lands in Zhengfangxing’s hands before we pan to, and then iris out on, the newly married Meng and Longzhu. They literally went through Hell for each other, but in the end, their love triumphs.
The film was a labor of literal love, and thankfully, it did well. Critics loved the complex character relationships and innovative animation. We won some Annies and were nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar, losing to What Dreams May Come
, which, given the artistry of that one, was pretty much primed for Oscar, so I feel no loss there. We broke $364 mill at the Box Office (Batman: Terror of the Scarecrow
and The Flintstones: On the Rocks
just didn’t come close), driven by a strong domestic showing and a surprisingly good return in China, where we managed to actually be seen as a fair go at depicting Chinese culture…for a bunch of Gweilo out of California. Maybe we did not do Lion King
good, but by that point the whole Animated Feature Renaissance had lost a bit of its novelty. Animated features were no longer “events”, they were just another movie option. Everybody
saw The Lion King
. Only most people
saw The Poet and the Dragon
Art like life has its ups and downs. This was an “up”. We managed to be a success both artistically and financially with The Poet and the Dragon
. They managed to love us in China, perhaps because we didn’t try to tell their own Legends back to them but instead gave them an original American story inspired by Chinese culture. Some didn’t quite like the portrayal of King Yan, who though fearsome isn’t necessarily “evil” per se, just an unpleasant but necessary part of the wheel of life (though apparently some took it as a subtle poke against Buddhism). I hear that some hardliners in the government didn’t approve of our antiauthoritarian and pro-self-actualizing themes, but the majority, including the ruling moderates, simply saw it as a standard “Taoism vs. Confucianism” narrative, like has been told in China for literal centuries.
And while we didn’t make this film for
China, I’m glad that they got something out of it. In the end, we have different lives and different values, but if we remember that we’re all one family in the end despite our differences, then perhaps we can all live and love.
 Recall his long mentorship and friendship with the openly gay Thomas Schumacher in our timeline.
 We’d say “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. In this timeline The Poet and the Dragon
names the trope even though it’s arguably not actually an example of it.