WHEN: 6:08 pm EST, July 11th, 2013
WHERE: The living room of my apartment in Portland
FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Full of ravioli. A bit lethargic, but satisfied as a result.
The NeverEnding Story is missing a character. Or rather, a missing character is never seen but has a powerful role. Who was Bastian’s mother? Bastian’s mom, or Moon Child if you prefer, is an important character primarily through her absence. Her death left a very obvious impact. The pain of losing a parent is devastating. Bastian is doing his best, but he is doing poorly in school, has lost interest in activities, and has recurring dreams about his mother. The impact of her death is palpable, yet we know nothing about her, only that Bastian is a very sad little boy. There are some clues to what she was like when she was alive. They are all inferred, but perhaps we can gain a clearer picture of the woman who was so important to our protagonist.
In Bastian’s room there is a picture on the wall by his bed of a woman. It’s not terribly close to Bastian’s bed and the picture of the American Indian chief seems to have more importance. Bastian also looks towards the picture after waking from his dream.
“You’re the only who can comfort me now, Lamp.”
We later learn that he dreamed about his mother. Plus, there is no other woman of any importance in Bastian’s life mentioned, so it seems the most logical answer would be that the picture is of his mother. She appears to be rather plain looking, but is smiling in the photo.
Breakfast with Bastian’s dad gives us more information. Although he doesn’t show it to his son, Bastian’s father is upset by his wife’s death. He pauses and appears to collect himself before giving Bastian a speech about responsibility. This entire exchange screams of missing person. Bastian’s father seems unfamiliar with his son’s routines and doesn’t understand Bastian’s lack of enthusiasm for life. This means that mom was probably the household runner and the emotional support of the family. Mom most likely had the morning routine down to a science, helped Bastian off to school on time, and kissed her husband good-bye. Bastian’s dad looks very put together and professional, so it’s possible that Moon Child was a stay-at-home mom.
More like Dapper Dad, am I right?
Bastian’s mother was most likely responsible for his love of reading. His father tells him to get his head out of the clouds, to keep both feet on the ground. This means that mom was the one who encouraged Bastian’s imagination and his reading habits. She also helped with his schoolwork since it appears that Bastian’s dad works late. I imagine that Bastian’s mom had plenty of time to keep up with Bastian’s interests and showered him with affection. She was the primary parent, while dad earned the money for the family. Bastian’s dad was certainly closer to his wife than to his son. He can barely engage in a normal conversation with Bastian.
Bastian’s bullies also bring a few more bits of information to light. They call Bastian a “momma’s boy.” Bastian’s mom was probably very involved in his school, especially if she didn’t work. The bullies might also be hitting Bastian where it hurts most by using his dead mother against him, the little shits.
You are all going to get the most bizarre comeuppance.
They are also pretty sure that he carries money. Maybe it was a payoff that Bastian lied to his mother about to keep the bullies at bay while not having to admit that he was getting bullied. He could say it was for lunch, but just give it as safety insurance. He doesn’t have any now that his mom is gone, which might mean that he can’t quite weasel extra from his dad.
And finally, Moon Child. Who names their kid Moon Child?
I really want Moon Child to be a nickname or some inside joke. Maybe the German (Mond Kind or Kind des Mondes?) didn’t translate well. Maybe she was a hippie and that was the moniker she was using when she met Bastian’s dad. I just can’t imagine anybody introducing themselves as Moon Child Bux. It flabbergasts me still. The name works for the Empress, but not for those in the ordinary world. Perhaps that’s another clue, though. Bastian’s mother was so fantastic and wonderful that the name Moon Child seemed the only right name for her.
No lines, no actual screen time, and no credit. Bastian’s mother is still a primary character in The NeverEnding Story. Her death is what brought Bastian to the present emotional state in his life. If he was a well-adjusted child then he would not be a candidate to stop the Nothing from destroying Fantasia. Her absence is what allows Bastian to throw himself into books with enthusiasm. Through reading The Neverending Story, he finds his surrogate mother in the Childlike Empress who he can actually save. She becomes the object of his maternal affection and the mother to his reawakened imagination. Through her, Moon Child lives again.