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The Belos Detail In The Owl House That You Might Have Missed

"The Owl House," which premiered on Disney back in 2020, is a magical show that follows young Luz Noceda (Sarah-Nichole Robles) on her adventures in a new world. There are witches and demons and emperors, all crammed on an island civilization built atop the decaying remains of a giant skeletal figure. Dana Terrace's brainchild weaves the lighthearted charm of Disney's style with strong LGBTQ+ themes, fully realized characters, as well as a story wrought with darker undertones.

Luz meets plenty of heroes along the way, but it could be said that a series like this is only as good as its villain. "Since the heroes and the gimmicks tend to repeat from film to film, only a great villain can transform a good try into a triumph," said the late film critic Roger Ebert in his review of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." What Ebert said essentially means that antagonists are often allowed to express their character in thrilling, interesting ways, and with detail not always afforded to protagonists, especially in stories involving heroics. With that in mind, let's examine a small detail regarding Emperor Belos (Matthew Rhys), the ultimate baddie of "The Owl House," that you might have missed. 

The potential meaning behind Belos' mask

In "The Owl House," Emporer Belos rules the Boiling Isles (oh yeah, the sea around their little bone island is literally boiling, so that's fun). Although he appears to be a kind and dutiful leader to the public, Belos is actually quite sinister. For most of his screen time, the Emperor keeps his face hidden behind a helmet that wouldn't look out of place in "Hollow Knight," and it's this very helmet that fans believe holds a secret hidden in plain sight.

"Just realized Belos' mask is a bird skull," posted Redditor u/Cav_Allium to r/TheOwlHouse. At a quick glance, they certainly seem to be on to something. The elongated beak and the pointed eye holes are easily interpreted as avian. Stylized, sure, but avian nonetheless. If the design was intentionally a bird skull, it would be a grotesquely poetic symbol to visualize his direct opposition to Eda (Wendie Malick), The Owl Lady, Luz's found family and magical mentor who bears a terrible curse that forcefully changes her into a monstrous owl beast. 

Naturally, Redditors have opinions, and in this case, not many of them seemed ready to accept u/Cav_Allium's theory. Redditor u/sans_34 noted that they see a deer, not a bird, when looking at Belos' mask, while u/TellyJart proposed that the helmet was a combination of vulture and beetle. On the other hand, u/DELIRIUM_DELIRIUM wrote, "i always assumed it was plague doctor but then realized that those were also based off birds."

There seemed to be little consensus as to what the helmet is supposed to resemble, and perhaps that's a sign that the helmet is only that: a helmet. If we're being honest, though, wearing the skull of your enemies is pretty hardcore, so we're rooting for that option.