Monday, December 18, 2017

↠ What Hester Shaw having two eyes means for the Mortal Engines film

Spoilers about the book follow in this piece on the eyes of Hester Shaw.

There was one thing that surprised us with the release of the Mortal Engines trailer

It was not the majesty of London towering over little Salthook.

It was not the giant hooks fired into the sky.

It was not the time on the clock being before midday (and thus incorrect according to the book).

It was that Hester Shaw appeared to have two eyes!

Readers of the book by Philip Reeve will know that Hester is a hideously scarred young girl with only one eye. A wee spoiler here to explain - a main character in the film sliced her face open with a sword when she was a young child and she lost her eye as a result.

She's supposed to be ugly to look at. The trauma of what happened to her is both inward and outward.

Bad things happened to Hester.

Hester looks bad.

And this HEAVILY affects her character's psyche.

The author has explained his intent behind this quite well.

artists concept of hester shaw
An artist's interpretation of book Hester Shaw's scar
So will the Big Hollywood Movie Version of Hester Shaw have any influence on the character?

Well, first up we (me) have to get over ourselves and remember two things.

This aint Shakespeare (even though the name of the book was inspired by Othello) and it's a big production Hollywood movie which means the books are merely a guide for the Peter Jackson produced and Christian Rivers directed spectacle to follow.

So the trailer for Mortal Engines thus introduced us to Hester with two, healthy looking eyes.

What of it?

Well, Hester is also quote famous for wearing a red scarf to hide her disfigurement and quess what is covering half of Hester's face?

That's right, we are not shown the lower half of her visage. Perhaps underneath it, there's a missing nose? A hack out cheek with teeth showing through? A deliciously hideous scar?

It might be that due to Hollywood's need to cash in, the lead actress needs to be pretty still.

This is not Monster staring a Hollywood beauty as Eileen Wuornos. No, this is a relatively unknown actress in a huge role on which Peter Jackson's investor millions rest.

The question really is, will Hester still be a vicious little cobra, a cacodemon of utter rage and resolve? 

Part of the book character's lure is that she is the anti-hero of the tale, single minded in her mission for revenge and has trouble making friends. Let's hope that's retain as much as possible.

So, Hester will be pretty and that's that.


There's a wee chance all is not as it seems.

In the book, Hester doesn't get her red scarf until AFTER she has met Tom (he gets her one). The trailer is the opening scene of the book - which means at that point Hester has not met Tom and thus she has no red scarf.

Of course, with movie to book happening, anything can happen.

So it could be there's a bit of a fake out happening.

Maybe Hester's scar will be added later one audiences have been drawn in. It wouldn't be the first time that something was in a trailer but not the final film - look at the last three Star Wars movies - plenty of change ups happened to the point Rogue One hardly looks like it's own trailer!

Now, what do think of my contention that the trailer of Mortal Engines was basically the start of Star Wars: A New Hope?


  1. Still has almost a year of postproduction, hope they fix Hester face, or will be the Pennyroyal's version of Hester

  2. I suspect that what we see is what we'll get, but under the scarf will be where the damage is. (Though she could gain her scar during the film, I guess).

  3. It is like tyrion, from GOT.. In the books his scar is bigger, uglier, etc... :(

  4. "It might be that due to Hollywood's need to cash in, the lead actress needs to be pretty still."

    Exactly my thoughts. My prediction is that her "hideous scar and disfigured face" is going to be a cute little scratch under her chin or something ��

  5. Well, that's Peter Jackson behind the movies - the one who had the most hideous Galadriel imaginable in his LotR, so why should we get surprised? ))
    Besides, it's just another hollywood movie, aimed at getting as much money as possible, and - though bodypositivism is so trendy these days - they just can't risk it. They are simply afraid that the actress won't have enough talent to win the spectators' love and sympathy with a big, scary scar and only one eye.