Welcome to the Moonlight Library’s 30 Day Animorphs Challenge!
Despite Project Animorphs in 2013, I clearly do not talk about Animorphs enough.
This particular challenge is taken from the Heck Yeah Tumblr Challenges archive on Tumblr.
Day 16: Three moments of nightmare fuel:
You know, the Animorphs series has a reputation for being really dark and gritty ‘for a children’s series’. I personally don’t believe that the later books are really aimed specifically at children: I believe that as JK Rowling’s Harry Potter audience grew and matured, so did the books, and the same thing happened with Animorphs. I was about nine or ten when I first started reading them, and about fifteen or so when the series ended. It was a mature series for younger readers and never spoke down or simplified things for its audience.
So the darkness could be pretty intense.
Here are my three moments of nightmare fuel:
The first and most horrific will always be in Book #33 The Illusion, when Tobias is getting tortured. Not the torture itself, though that is pretty awful, but what happens when the Animorphs bust in and rescue him. It’s a bloodbath. Marco in gorilla morph leaps on top of the (glass? Plastic?) cage holding Tobias and tries to unscrew the screws to free him whilst being stabbed repeatedly by a Hork-Bajir Controller on his back. Drops of Marco’s blood splatter onto the cage, and then a steady stream. Marco’s in agony, but he’s determined to rescue Tobias, even going to far as to nearly die himself. I don’t even like Marco all that much, but that one scene has always stayed with me, even as a child, and re-reading it as an adult didn’t help. Marco was so heroic, and Tobias so helpless, and no one could help Marco and he was bleeding to death for some guy he doesn’t particularly like and often clashes with but who is part of the team.
The second moment of nightmare fuel again stars Marco. For a character I don’t particularly like he sure has a lot of the more memorable and emotional scenes I seem to remember. In this instance the action happens off-page, but it concerns Book #10 The Android, after the Animorphs have broken into the Yeerk stronghold to steal the Pemalite crystal. The Animorphs are left with no choice but to bust out in their biggest, meanest morphs, but they are trapped by ruthless Yeerk guards. A bloody battle ensues, and Marco is tasked with protecting the crystal, and in his point of view we see Erek standing by the window, waiting for the crystal that will let him rewrite his programming and save the Animorphs. Once again, Marco sacrifices his own safety to get the crystal to Erek so Erek can save their lives. Marco actually dies, but Erek restarts his heart after annihilating the enemies, utterly decimating them. My nightmare fuel is made worse because its left up to my very vivid imagination to think about what happened when Marco was ‘dead’ and the action happened off-page.
My third moment of nightmare fuel is in The Andalite Chronicles. At one point, Loren, Elfangor and Visser Three in his stolen Alloran body find the Time Matrix, and as they are being pulled into a black hole, the only way to escape is to use the machine. Because all three want to go to their separate homes, the Time Matrix is forced to create a weird combination universe that satisfies all three criteria. The universe is not complete, though. Loren’s mother knows about Andalites, which is impossible. Loren and Elfangor go to a McDonalds so Loren can have something to eat, and the serving guy simply has no face, because although Loren knows him and her friends back home told her he’s crushing on her, all she ever noticed was his acne. Loren’s McDonalds and the weird fake-universe the Time Matrix created is my third moment of nightmare fuel.