1st in a series of articles, focusing on the Raven and the Wolf
In the film, Balto II: Wolf Quest, Balto had many dreams that helped him with his journey to find his daughter and understand their purposes in life. But I noticed that there were many different species of animals, and after some research, I noticed that each animal had an additional meaning for certain scenes and for things that they did throughout the film.
(Note: These descriptions are based on their meanings as 'spiritual guides', which some of the animals were, but I think that you will be quite surprised by the accuracy of the character's actions with how they match up with their spiritual counterparts.)
(This is only part of a series of articles about the animals in WQ . . . There are a couple more to come from me soon! And hopefully, the pictures will work this time!)
Seen in both Balto's dreams and in real life by both of the wolfdogs, the Raven's meaning is quite simple: a messenger of mystery who has a purpose of change. They are considered to be wise, having knowledge of omens to come in the future (such as the whole journey that Balto and Aleu face).
- In Balto's dreams, the Raven seems to be following Balto - almost to the point of stalking him - throughout his arctic dream world. I'm not sure what this could mean, but perhaps it is merely a 'watcher' of his dreams, just taking note of Balto's reactions of the different changes that it leads him to, in my opinion. Perhaps all of the earlier dreams (before Aleu was born, and the ones when she was a puppy) that he had were nothing more than a test (by the Raven) to see if he was truly worthy of taking on this unknown quest that would soon take place a year later. This theory makes sense when he has the last vision with the totems - Aniu was getting him ready for the quest that he (and unexpectedly for his daughter as well) would have to embark on.
- Also, as Steet's WQ article clearly mentions, the Inuit hunter, the one that led Balto to tell Aleu the truth of her heritage, sported the leather satchel that had the image of a raven. I agree with his points that the hunter could have been Aniu herself, but perhaps he was nothing more than someone that was being controlled by Aniu? This seems to be true, since it was the Raven that led Aleu to where the 'vicious' hunter was laying in hiding in the first place, ready to shoot her. After Boris and Co. attacked him and began to flee from the scene, the hunter seemed as if he had no idea what was going on (or what he was seeing - two polar bears, a goose and two 'wolves' leaving together), hence his parting words:
Hunter: The spirits must be trying to trick me!
In other words, he probably had no idea that an actual spirit was using him for something beyond his control. In my opinion, Aniu wanted to only use him to get Balto to reveal Aleu's true heritage (so that she would be able to head towards her destiny).
Also, there was a major thing that the Raven did that was pretty vital to the tale - it was a leader that guided the father and daughter during their journey:
- It led Balto to the fox - afterwards, he was able to get Aleu's scent.
- It also led Aleu to the cave, where she soon learned of the 'quest' to discover her destiny from Muru.
- After Balto and Aleu reunited, they were again met by the Raven, when they finally realized that they had both been led to each other by the Raven.
The wolf was seen a lot throughout the film - in Balto's early dreams, Nava's wolf pack, and almost all through Muru's song to Aleu - of course, since the film is subtitled 'Wolf Quest,' it's a given that wolves would be the focus of this sequel (and also the fact that the main characters are part wolf and possess the lupine appearance). Usually the wolf symbolizes many things spirit-wise, some times good, sometimes bad, and sometimes it hints natural instinct and guidance through the help of dreams.
Hmm, where have we seen that before?
- In the end of the first dream that we see in Wolf Quest, Balto runs into a pack of dark wolves with glowing eyes. Usually when seen in a pack, wolves can mean Perhaps the vision of seeing a wolf pack was a premonition of his meeting with Nava's clan, the one that Aniu was most focused on?
- Later on after Aleu runs away, he receives a message from Aniu herself, explaining the meanings of the totems. However, when she reaches the wolf, the only thing heard was the sound of wolves howling. Perhaps it's a sign that he and his daughter (or perhaps Aniu herself?) represent the wolf on the totem. I believe that it is almost a show of family values, mainly his and Aleu's connection with their wolf heritage and with Aniu.
- In Muru's chanting song, 'Who You Really Are,' pictures of wolves start to appear and surround Aleu near the song's end. I have realized something about this scene: One of the final shots of the scene, the wolves are looking and facing towards her, making her the 'center' of their focus (see the 2nd picture above), as if it was an ironic prediction that she was meant to lead them, if only she decided to accept her destiny . . . and the quest that she was meant to endure. Yet another plot by Aniu . . . of course.
- It is sometimes stated that wolves symbolize death and rebirth. Perhaps Balto and Aleu's time with Nava's pack was almost like a 'rebirth' of Balto's wolf side (the side of him that he wanted to reject) and possibly the 'death' of the immature husky side of Aleu. Allow me to explain:
Balto's lupine 'rebirth': Due to Nava's quick (mis)judgment, Balto had to suddenly get back into the spirit of using his wolf instincts to help lead the clan to the caribou. However, he had to face a couple of challenges: He had to forget about the things that he loved (being a sled dog, being with Jenna and his friends in Nome, plus you could also add Aleu's safety to that list) and live up to the prophecy that Nava was talking about; he also had to deal with Niju and the ridicule of him being a half-breed that's only led a sled team, and never a pack of wild wolves. True, he was wolf, but he, unlike Aleu, knew that he was of wolf blood. Aleu, however, was the one who did not know (or understand how to be a wolf, with exception of howling and the appearance), hence the reason why she was able to fulfill Aniu's prophecy.
Aleu's 'death' and 'rebirth': Notice how Aleu was so playful before they met the pack? Ever since she learned of what the clan was going through, she seemed to mature and understand what was going on more than her father did. Also, she not only started to receive the dreams of vision from Aniu, but also the wise teachings from Nava as well. She was getting ready to accept what she, at first, didn't understand, but in the end, she found her true path in life as the clan's chosen leader - the one who is wolf and does not know. The young, childish Aleu that Balto had raised since birth had 'died' and, like the phoenix, she emerged from her immaturity with clearer understanding of the part of her in which she truly belonged.
- And yes, Aniu herself is a wolf, but her detailed explanation about her comes later in the last part of this series.
- Wolf Quest Screenshots - Capped by
- Wolf Quest Script - taken from
- Spiritual Guide Information from and .