Monday, August 8, 2022

Pride Spotlight: Luz Noceda and Amity Blight from ‘The Owl House’

FANDOMPride Spotlight: Luz Noceda and Amity Blight from 'The Owl House'

Welcome to the latest installment of our 2022 Pride Month Series! For the entire month of June, we will be highlighting different members of the LGBTQIA+ community who we think are great examples of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQIA+ community and in mainstream media. Today’s spotlight turns to Luz and Amity of Disney Channel’s hit animated series The Owl House!

In the last few years, children’s animation has become more and more willing to center LGBTQIA+ characters and stories. Long seen as a realm where queer coding rather than clear representation was the only option, creators are increasingly including explicitly queer characters and storylines. Nowhere is this sea change more apparent than on The Owl House, the brilliant series by bisexual creator Dana Terrace.

Disney Channel

The Owl House follows Dominican-American human Luz Noceda (Sarah-Nicole Robles), who finds herself caught up in a world of magic she never knew existed when she accidentally finds a portal to the Demon Realm. As Luz becomes the apprentice to witch Eda Clawthorne and gets to know the other students at Hexside School, she forms a friendship and later romantic relationship with perfectionist witch Amity Blight (Mae Whitman). A mix of horror and comedy, The Owl House is the type of children’s show that adults can (and do) enjoy, making it one of the most successful recent animated series.

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A big part of that success has been the relationship between Luz and her enemy-turned-friend-turned-girlfriend Amity. Luz and Amity’s relationship is a slow burn, with Amity initially hating Luz before slowly realizing that hatred is rooted in biases and incorrect assumptions. Amity’s growing crush on Luz is all blushing animations and sweet glances as the previously snobby witch lets her guard down. It all comes to a head in “Enchanting Grom Fright,” in which a shy Amity tries to get the courage to ask Luz to go to the “Grom” with her via a note she carries around throughout the episode.

Disney Channel

But Amity is selected as Grom Queen, which means she will have to face her biggest fear to defeat Grometheus the Fear Bringer. She admits to Luz that she doesn’t want to face this fear (later revealed to be Luz rejecting her), so Luz volunteers as Grom Queen to save her friend. It all goes horribly wrong before the duo defeats Grometheus, and Amity is too embarrassed to give her the note asking her out. But in the end, the pair share a dance as Grom Queens even as Luz is oblivious to Amity’s original intentions.

In the season two premiere, Amity finds the courage to stand up to her cold parents because of her love for Luz, which Luz finally begins to see after hearing Amity yell “Stay away from my Luz!” during a battle. After more pining from poor Amity, Luz slowly begins to realize her own feelings, though she’s not sure how to put them in words. “Through The Looking Glass Ruins” marks a turning point for the duo as both explore their feelings separately. Luz admits to Gus that she sneaks to the library specifically to see Amity at work, while Amity tells her siblings Emira and Edric that, “I’m thinking things I’ve never thought before. I’m feeling things I never used to feel!”

For Amity, her entire worldview has been changed by knowing and loving Luz, something her strict parents would never have allowed as it would cause her distraction from her studies and their plans for her life. Emira gently tells Amity that while she may feel confused, she is the happiest she has ever been. She helps Amity dye her hair pink rather than her signature green, symbolically shedding her perfect exterior curated by her mother for good. In a moment of overwhelming joy, Amity kisses Luz on the cheek while telling her that, “You always have a way of sneaking into people’s hearts.”

Disney Channel
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The kiss rocks Luz’s world even as Amity is horribly embarrassed by what she sees as a slip-up. She vows to leave Luz forever to avoid facing what she assumes will be Luz’s rejection. Luz, meanwhile, just wants to show Amity that she does care for her, but Amity keeps avoiding her. Finally, in “Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hooty’s Door,” house demon Hooty attempts to help Luz ask Amity out. Luz wants the event to be perfect and “cool” enough for her “cotton-candy-haired goddess,” not wanting to do the cheesy human customs. But she keeps missing her chance waiting for just the right romantic scenario to impress her. Hooty’s solution is to kidnap Amity, putting the two in stereotypically romantic scenarios like a Tunnel of Love to try to prompt Luz to admit how she feels. Amity is thrilled at this development, not minding the goofiness of the gesture, but when a frustrated Luz destroys it all, Amity assumes Luz doesn’t return her feelings. Hooty is understandably distressed that he has messed everything up.

In his hysteria at not being able to help his friends, Hooty’s emotions go haywire and threaten to destroy everything. To save everyone, Luz is about to confess her love when Amity beats her to it by asking her out in a confident blurt. It’s an adorable moment that fans had long awaited, and it remains a groundbreaking episode in children’s television. In the current season of the series, the two are officially girlfriends and made history with the first kiss between queer lead characters in a cartoon series. It remains to be seen how the two’s story will eventually end given the series’ unfortunate cancellation, but fans certainly hope Luz and Amity will be together in the end.

While The Owl House is a fun show for anyone who chooses to watch, it means much more to queer viewers. Luz and Amity are canonically queer from the first season before they start dating, with Luz identifying as bisexual and Amity as a lesbian. The duo are officially Disney’s first leading bisexual and lesbian characters, not just in animation but across all mediums. Even more importantly, since both Luz and Amity are leading characters on the series, they and by extension their queerness are a large part of the show’s marketing. “Lumity” has been the subject of compilation videos curated by Disney Channel and targeted to their young audience, a major step forward that was unthinkable even a few years ago. They also aren’t the only queer characters on the show. Raine Whispers is non-binary, using they/them pronouns, and is a love interest for Eda. They are also voiced by non-binary actor Avi Roque. Lilith is aromantic and asexual, shown by her coming out to Hooty via letter in a livestream performance for the Zebra Coalition (and later confirmed by actress Cissy Jones.)

None of the characters encounters homophobia, and why would they? This a magical realm where demons exist, after all. This makes The Owl House a safe world of escapism for children just beginning the process of discovering their sexualities. For older queer viewers, watching Luz and Amity’s relationship unfold demonstrates just how far children’s television has come in depicting queer characters. Even Whitman, who identifies as pansexual herself, publicly acknowledged the impact being a part of the series has had on her as a queer adult.

Disney Channel has featured coming out storylines before. But The Owl House is different. Coming out is never a concern for Luz or Amity, with Amity more concerned about dating a human than dating a girl. Their sexualities are simply a part of them and the least interesting aspect of their romance. It’s the same kind of first crush storyline nearly every Disney Channel series has included, but with two comfortably queer characters. While storylines like Cyrus’ coming out on Andi Mack are incredibly important for kids to see since they take place in our world, it’s also nice for them to have examples of uncomplicated, magical queer joy.

While Luz and Amity may have their fair share of witchy angst, the sweetness of the love between them and their stumbling way of expressing it is relatable for kids just beginning to have crushes. Rather than make young queer viewers feel ashamed or like the world will reject them for their feelings, The Owl House presents a found family full of love, acceptance, and happiness.

The Owl House is currently airing the second half of its second season on Disney Channel, while the shortened third and final season is in production. Stay tuned for more Pride Spotlights this month!

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