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I Love How Queer ‘Willow’ Is, But I Hate What Happens to This Couple

Hubert and Anne sit in wooden chairs in the woods in Willow.

I love how unapologetically queer a lot of TV is nowadays. Take Willow, for instance: They don’t have to heavily code or hint at the romance between Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Jade (Erin Kellyman), her champion. The two are simply in love—and check it out, civilization hasn’t crumbled yet!

In episode 3, “The Battle of the Slaughtered Lamb,” we meet another queer couple: Hubert and Anne, a pair of lesbian homesteaders played by Hannah Waddingham and Caoimhe Farren. Hubert and Anne are living the queer dream! They’re toasting their lunches on an open flame next to their firewood! Their forest cottage has moss on the roof! Also, Hannah Waddingham!! Of Ted Lasso and Game of Thrones fame! What a treat!

I instantly fell in love with Hubert and Anne, and my interest in the series shot up when their scene made it look like they’d be recurring characters. That’s why their fate was especially disappointing.

What happens to Hubert and Anne?

Here’s a quick recap: Elora Danan escapes the monsters (known as “disciples”) sent by the Crone to capture her, and runs through the forest until she stumbles upon Hubert and Anne outside their cottage. Elora warns them about what’s coming, and the couple, awestruck that they’re in the presence of the True Empress, vow to dedicate themselves to the “great host” that’s prophesied to help her defeat the forces of darkness.

But as they’re getting ready to leave, the disciples show up and attack. Hubert seems to kill their leader, the corrupt Commander Ballantine (Ralph Ineson), but then he swings his sword around and runs her through. Elora and Anne try to escape, but the disciples catch up and take out Anne, too.

Yep, that’s right. They both die.

It’s such a tremendous waste. Waddingham is absolutely delightful as Hubert, with her quirky choices of vocabulary and her unflagging cheer. Even though Anne never has a chance to get a word in, Farren’s chemistry with Waddingham is a pleasure to watch. I could hang out with these gals all series. As it is, though, they only get a couple of scenes. There’s a chance they could come back from the dead, but I’m not holding my breath.

By killing Hubert and Anne off, the show turns them into props to show that the Crone is dangerous, which … um, we already knew. They also prompt Elora to proclaim, later in the episode, that she won’t let anyone else die because of her, but there are plenty of other paths to heroism Elora could have taken.

Plus, by not surviving even one episode, Hubert and Anne end up as casualties of the “bury your gays” trope, in which queer characters are more likely to die in film and TV. Yeah, a lot of other characters die in this episode, too, but Hubert and Anne’s deaths still feel unnecessary.

I’m still loving Willow, and I can’t wait to see how Kit and Jade’s relationship continues to unfold. But unless a miracle is in the works, the loss of Hubert and Anne just seems pointless.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and makes yarn on her spinning wheel. You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.