WARNING! The following may contain spoilers to The Last Unicorn
Peter S. Beagle has a way with words that most writers can only dream about. The way he turns simple words into literary daggers that stab us in the hearts is something all great Fantasy writers should strive for. Sure, it’s enough to have a solid story and characters that ordinary people can relate to, but why not write something … more? Something that moves the individual … something that may someday change the human condition?
I still get chills, reading over his dialogue from The Last Unicorn. One of my favorite parts is when the bumbling magician, Schmendrick, absentmindedly turns the unicorn into a human girl to protect her from the Red Bull(not the energy drink) only to receive her woeful wrath. You see, the unicorn can’t abide the feeling of life … the feeling of the body around her slowly dying away; and all the new emotions that she had never experienced before rushing through her.
It’s moments like these in books that draw me nearer to the words on the page, moments that help us to understand our own fears. Beagle helps us to confront these fears while simultaneously putting us at ease, simply by knowing that we are not the only ones afraid of death. Beautiful prose and grandiose ideas … that’s what the world needs more of today.
Whenever someone asks for a good fantasy book to help them down the road of the more magical of genres, Peter S. Beagle and his works are the ones I turn them to. Little children receive copies of The Last Unicorn from me as gifts … copies of the animated movie find their ways into the children’s home. I can think of no better gift for a child than magic, even if it means my exhausting the only tabletop trick I know at every family gathering(it involves a saltshaker, a penny, and a napkin)
Thankfully, Beagle’s work with the unicorn is far from over. By the end of February next year, the rights to The Last Unicorn will become available once more. Beagle has been in talks with other producers recently, ones that share his vision of a live action version of The Last Unicorn, and they are patiently waiting. The writer is even working on a script, which makes me happier than I think most things can.
Hopefully soon, there will be a new movie that will draw people back to the works of Peter S. Beagle. Little girls around the world will fall in love with unicorns all over again. They will see the book that started it all; feel the wispy prose fluttering gently like a sing-songy butterfly in their hearts, and they’ll ask … “Where have you been?”