But Mebh is also a child looking for her mom: the girl's mother (also a wolfwalker) lies asleep in their lair, unable to wake up, which suggests that the woman's spirit trapped in a wolf body has been caught somewhere and can't return to her child and her tribe. This is the tragedy. The simple image of a quietly sleeping mother, unable to wake up and embrace her crying daughter would make you feel like falling apart.
When Mebh accidentally bites Robyn, the latter becomes a Wolfwalker as well and learns that there's more to the wolves than she believed. Not only does she unravel the beautiful, autumnal world in the forbidden forest, a space of lush greens and burnt oranges that radiate from the screen, but she is also exposed to a unique visual experience whereby scents become illuminated in glowing, trailing auras in an otherwise dark world. Now forced to see everything from a wolf's perspective, she also recognizes that the Lord Protector's plan to kill the wolves and occupy the forest will have grief consequences for Mebh and her tribe, to whom Robyn now belongs.
As the story becomes one of Robyn finding her place outside of society, Moore and Stewart's backgrounds immerse us in the drama: the blocky, repetitive solidity of the town clashes with the dense and dreamy swirls of color and movement found in the forest and the fields. Similarly, the rough, sometimes even incomplete lines with which Robyn and Mebh are drawn in contrast with the hard edges and rough angles of the Lord Protector and his soldiers. As the conflict flames up, Wolfwalkers becomes as much a battle of line, texture, and movement as it does of characters. By the way, many critics emphasize the splendid drawing of the cartoon, as it is an example of not only animation but pure filmmaking. Its sense of character expression and use of color and detail make it continually dazzling to watch.
With this beautiful visual language, Тomm Moore and Ross Stewart complete what has been called their "Irish Folklore Trilogy" with a story that's thick with adventure and tension. This is not a reserved fairy tale like what people often expect from that genre. This is really an action movie as Robyn and Mebh seek to save a way of life and keep their darlings safe. And, of course, there are layers of subtext underneath.