On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.
GREATEST MOMENT #20
Granamyr reveals a twist in the tale.
"The Dragon's Gift"
Skeletor, having snuck into the Royal Palace disguised as a nobleman, attempts to use the mysterious power of the Weird of Crystal on King Randor. However, Man-At-Arms intervenes, and the crystal turns him into a stone statue. He-Man, Battle Cat, and Teela journey to Castle Grayskull hoping that the Sorceress can reverse the cruel spell. She claims that Granamyr, the oldest and wisest of the dragons of Darksmoke may know, but that she cannot reveal the location of Darksmoke. After a great deal of research the heroes head for the Ice Mountains. Finally reaching Darksmoke He-Man, Battle Cat, and Teela enter the huge treasure-filled dome. Granamyr informs the heroes of his less-than-pleasant past experiences with humans. He states that he will restore Man-At-Arms in exchange for a gift. He commands He-Man to cut down Skytree so he can watch it burn in his firepit. Upon locating Skytree in the Forgotten Forest the heroes are shocked to learn that the large towering tree is a living being. Having been saved by an ancestor of Man-At-Arms Skytree agrees to be chopped down in exchange for the life of Man-At-Arms. He-Man cannot bring himself to do it, and with the agreement of a heartbroken Teela, they travel back to Granamry empty-handed...
He-Man, Battle Cat, and Teela appear once more within Granamyr's lair. The great dragon immediately asks, "Where is my gift?" He-Man simply informs Granamyr that they don't have it in their possession. Granamyr reminds He-Man, "But you agreed!" He-Man takes this opportunity to explain himself and his moral standards to the dragon, "Skytree, in fact any tree, has as much right to life as you or me or Man-At-Arms." The most powerful man in the universe simply adds a hard-hitting statement, "We will not take a life to save a life." As an angry Granamyr looks on, He-Man doesn't hide from their original agreement, "Pick another gift or send us to the Realm of Demons now." An inquiring Granamyr asks, "It would be my right to do so, wouldn't it?" He-Man wholeheartedly agrees. The great dragon then leans towards the heroes stating, "Wisdom, compassion and the honoring of a bargain. Who would have thought humankind could have improved so much in a thousand years?" Granamyr returns to his upright position announcing, "I accept this gift, He-Man." And with that the dragon gestures his mighty hand, and a book appears to Teela, in which the spell that will cure Man-At-Arms is contained. Teela thanks Granamyr, but he leans down and replies, "You can thank me best by letting me sleep. And never bothering me again!" And with that, Granamyr returns to sleep in his firepit.
This scene features not only a beautiful exchange of dialogue between Granamyr and He-Man, but more importantly features one of the all-time great plot twists. When He-Man, Battle Cat, and Teela return without Skytree, we are aware that (because of the nature of this animated series) this isn't the end of our heroes. But the turn on Granamyr's part is completely unexpected. Larry DiTillio writes Granamyr as such a powerfully determined character that none of us dare suspect that the gift the great dragon has in mind is in fact a test of He-Man's moral standards. The lesson about the value of life is written perfectly, as is the moment when Granamyr accepts the gift. The scene also once more justifies He-Man as the most appropriate individual to wield the power of Castle Grayskull.