In episode four of Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, titled Hearing the Whistler, we find our elfin heroine scaling a mountain face, scurrying home, presumably after a day of solo adventure, turning back to yell “I’ll be back tomorrow, my forest!” On the way back to the homestead she meets her clansman and chats with them about the questionable family business. They explain that their pilfering practices as normal and omnipresent as rain and harpies. Ronja takes it all in stride, as she does most things.

Back home they feast, rustic braids of root vegetables and bundles of herbs hanging from the ceiling, adding a homey vibe to the cozy domestic scene. The robber gang trade tales about the rival chief Borka, calling them “dirty devils,” prompting little Ronja to declare that she’s proud to be Mattis’ daughter, which instantly elicits some manly blubbering. Ronja climbs into a cozy little sleeping enclosure and Lovis sings her to sleep, reprising the song she sang to her the night she was born.

The next morning Lovis packs Ronja’s lunch, reminiscing about the stormy weather that welcomed her the night she was born, warning that children born under those conditions can turn wild and savage. She also warns that the harpies are especially vicious when the weather cools, but none of this can keep Ronja from bounding off into the forest for another action-packed day. Her confidence seems to multiply with every outing, and baring her teeth at a group of grey dwarves forces their retreat. Sure enough, a harpy starts to stalk her, hissing after the “pretty little human,” and Ronja tries to beat her back but eventually bails, diving into the river to evade the circling birds and their talons.

Not sated with that adrenaline-raising chase, she runs home and into the cellar, marking her route like the experienced explorer she is. She eventually makes her way to the storied Hell’s Gap, the crevasse created by a bolt of lightening that struck the night Ronja was born. As she has before, she starts to give herself a pep talk, because she is a miniature badass in training. “Ronja, you can jump this,” she mutters, gearing up to leap across, but she’s interrupted by a startling whistle. To her astonishment, she sees a young boy about her age, who claims to know her. The episodes ends with the two locked in a stare down.

Cirilia Rose
Cirilia Rose is a verbal obsessive who believes that science fiction offers a viable blueprint for the future. Though she is a fashion fan with a decade of design experience, she envies the ease of Star Trek: TNG jumpsuits. Follow her nerdy PNW pursuits at

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