"The Neverending Story"

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The Neverending Story is filled with all kinds of things that will traumatize young minds--the Gmork that kills people, the Nothing that kills people, the sphinxes that kill people-- as well as the idea that if you don't believe a fictional story is actually true, you too will kill thousands of innocent people.

All this death and destruction still didn't prepare me for the most traumatizing death in the film-- Artax the horse, who sinks to his death in the swamp of sadness.  Our hero Atreyu tries and tries to free him, screaming, crying the horse's name, and even insulting him, to no effect.  Then, after a fade to black, we see only swampwater where Artax used to be.  We are only left to wonder, what can a horse be so sad about after all?  Do horses have ennui?

Lesson learned:
You can lead a horse to swampwater, but you can't prevent his sink.

Die unendliche Geschichte (The Neverending Story). Dir. Wolfgang Petersen. Perf. Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach. Warner Bros., 1984.

The Neverending Story
(see the scene on YouTube here)


  1. I was always more baffled by the fact that the kid was gone for what? days? and the movie never even addresses the idea that his widowed father might have been worried about him.

  2. As for the widowed father, I cannot believe that 5 years later, he became Major Dad

  3. Interesting side note- in that scene, the actor who plays Atreyu gets caught in the lowering mechanisim that drags the horse under the swamp and also gets dragged under, unable to free himself. So yeah, the terror you see? totally real.