Author Spotlight: Sam Poots
Welcome to our series of posts focusing on the authors and guest authors of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Adventure Game. Our guest author this week is journalist and presenter for OnTableTop: Sam Poots.
OnTableTop is a site dedicated to wargames, board games and roleplaying games, providing news, tutorials, and reviews. Sam’s great loves in life are writing stories, drinking tea, playing with swords, and more tea.
Raucous laughter carries through the trees. Ahead, brightly coloured bunting stretches from junk heap to junk heap, and garish stalls slump against each other. A sword juts up out of a rock, its edge coated with rust. A burly figure steps out of the crowd and grasps it. “Unhand me sir!” the sword cries. “I told you brutes, I am retired!”
The Stubborn Sword, Sam’s guest scene for Labyrinth: The Adventure Game brings the player’s to a plinth in a rather large room of the Labyrinth. Hopeful contenders line up to take their turn at pulling the sword from the stone but none have succeeded. Is the sword waiting for the true king of the Labyrinth, or is it just tired of adventure?
Sam on writing The Stubborn Sword:
I am a big fan of Jim Henson’s work. From The Storyteller to Dark Crystal, the worlds are rich and full of the most imaginative characters you can find. So when I was offered the chance to write a scene for The Labyrinth I couldn’t be more excited. I sat down that evening with my notebook, a copy of the movie, and a few books of the collected art of Brian Froud and Arthur Rackham. I know how to have a good time. The structure of the movie helped me; it is very episodic in style, a series of scenes and locations that are only nominally connected to each other. This was very freeing as I didn’t have to worry about cohesion between location. All I had to ask was “Would this make sense to Terry Jones?”
One moment from the movie, in particular, stood out to me: upon first arriving in the Labyrinth, Sarah can’t even find her way inside. That is until a friendly worm points out how nothing in the Labyrinth is ever quite what it appears when you first look at it. You have to learn to think about things, approach them from a different angle, and never take anything at face value. This, and the way Sarah learns to connect with others, were things I really wanted to try to convey in my scene.
Near the end of The Labyrinth film, there had been a goblin holding a staff that itself had a talking goblin head on it. That made me think, “What if there are other items like that?” This became the retired sword in the stone. I drew upon the Sword in the Stone myth as a sort of familiar short-hand to play with expectations. Everyone knows the sword in the stone myth. And what do you do with a sword? But nothing is that simple in the Labyrinth and this sword has feelings of its own. It has value beyond who and what it is. Something you learn throughout The Labyrinth when you come at it from a different direction.