When we last left Ronja, girl was shook, having just seen the first child that wasn’t her own reflection in a placid stream.

Episode five, titled Enemy in the Fort, introduces Birk, boasting that his family and a dozen robbers have moved into the other half of Mattis’ fort, rechristening it Borka’s Keep. Ronja bristles, imagining Mattis’ rage at hearing this news, threatening bodily harm if Birk dares to jump to her side of Hell’s Gap. He promptly does, and dares her to do the same.

Fueled by rage, she is finally able to make the leap and they proceed to fly to and fro, narrowly cheating death with every jump. Suddenly a rock gives way and Birk stumbles, landing on a precarious beam. Ronja grabs a bundle of rope stashed in her bitchin’ utility belt and barks at Birk to climb to safety, leveraging herself against a boulder. He does, and she collapses in a heap, exhausted. He quips “I see you’ve fallen asleep,” and she demands he return her rope so she can be free of him. Birk solemnly says they’ll likely be tied together forever after what they’ve just survived.

Ronja dutifully informs her dear father that Borka’s band has infiltrated the fort and he freaks, accusing Ronja of fibbing. As usual, Ronja remains remarkably composed while Mattis Hulks out, tossing ale and a side of beef, all while Lovis calmly stirs a stew. Notably, Ronja routinely calls her parents by their first names. I’m not sure if this is a holdover from Nordic or even Japanese tradition, but it has the endearing effect of casting her in a mature light, especially during altercations where she keeps her wits about her while her father sputters and flails. “This is our home, we’re meant to be safe here, like a fox in his lair!! But now…” Mattis bursts into tears, then a full-on, floor-based tantrum. Ronja looks on with a “get it together, Mattis” look and Lovis eventually douses him with cold water, remarking that his manhandling of the roast has made it nice and tender.

Everyone retreats to their respective corners, wondering how the rival gang managed to penetrate their defenses and navigate the perilous cliffs surrounding the fort. Mattis dramatically exclaims “I’m going to bed now, not to sleep, but to think, and to curse my enemies. And woe betide anyone who disturbs me!” Our diminutive heroine sleeps fitfully, upset that her first potential friend also happens to be the son of her father’s sworn enemy, and a direct threat to their livelihood. It’s revealed that they’re a truly star-crossed pair, having been born under the same stormy skies that split the fort in the first place.

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 www.ciriliarose.com

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