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After writing yesterday’s post, in which I talked at length about that one time a horse died in NeverEnding Story, and it pretty much destroyed my childhood, I suddenly remembered an old photo I happened to pick up when I was visiting my parents a few months ago.

Luckily for you, I snapped a photo-of-the-photo on my phone, and here it is:

Portrait of the Author as a Young Eyebrow

Now, there are a few things to note here:

01. The wallpaper was there when we moved in, OK?


03. This is why I don’t have my hair bobbed.



Yeah, I totally painted a picture of Artax, the dying horse from the movie. Then I hung it on my wall. Also, I was apparently much older when this happened than I made it sound in that post, huh?

I can actually remember painting this: it was not long after we’d seen the movie, and the entire class was instructed to paint a scene from it. Most kids chose to draw the dragon, or some other, non-disturbing scene, but despite my teacher’s attempts to gently guide me towards something else, I, of course, chose to depict this scene:


But, of course, Artax DID let the sadness of the swamps get to him. And Artax, he died. Dead. Literally. I never really got over it, which is why I’m SO going to buy this hardcover journal I found online:

Fight the sadness, Artax

FIGHT THE SADNESS, ARTAX! Fight it everyone! And no: I will never forget.

(What Terry won’t forget, meanwhile, is that the Empress from this movie was the first love of his life, and he thought she was “the most perfect girl who ever lived”. He’s just spent the last few minutes, after I showed him this journal, Googling the actress to see what she looks like now, and declaring that she’s “still got game”. So that’s nice.)

In a final note: see those two sets of male feet you can just see in the top left of the photo of Mini Me? That was a poster of two showjumping stars of the time, whose names I can’t for the life of me remember, but one of whom I thought I would probably end up marrying when I grew up. I hung their poster on my wall, but every time I got dressed/undressed, I had to cover their eyes by pinning another photo on top of them, because I felt like they were watching me. I was OK with the pony on the left, Artax, and whoever that is in the photo above the bed, but those two? NO WAY.

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What do you think?

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  • The Other Emma
    April 26, 2016

    I had that haircut, only because my hair is naturally I had two rolled in curls at the front. I would have LOVED to have straight hair like yours ( and also how shiny is your hair, it’s amazing!)

    I also had pictures of show jumpers and horses on my walls, I thought I would be one of them. Although how I thought I was going to become a show jumping Queen when in spite of my best begging / whinging / guilting efforts, my parents wouldn’t let me do regular horse riding lessons is beyond me but I didn’t let that stop me dreaming!

    • Amber
      April 26, 2016

      Haha, me too: I did have the riding lessons, but how I thought I was going to make the Olympic Showjumping team based on one riding lesson per week, and without an actual horse, I have no idea!

  • Maria
    April 26, 2016

    I can’t help that every little girl should fall in love with a pony!!! X

  • Claire
    April 26, 2016

    There are so many films which traumatised me as a kid where the horse dies… or is unhappy! Totally understand you on this one <3

    Gisforgingers xx

  • Brenda
    April 26, 2016

    You were so CUTE! You should post more childhood photos!

  • Helen Love
    April 26, 2016

    You were a gorgeous wee girl Amber… and even more gorgeous now…. loved this story! 🙂 x

  • Fi
    April 26, 2016

    I think everyone had that haircut or some variation of it in the early/mid-80s. I did, as did my sister and several of our friends. Didn’t stop it from being terrible, not sure what the parents of the time were thinking!

  • Chiarina
    April 26, 2016

    I literally laughed out loud twice while reading this post, once at the picture of the journal and once at Terry’s “still got game”. Thank you for this blog!

    • Chiarina
      April 26, 2016

      …aaand now I’ll be singing the theme from the neverending story all evening…

  • Heather
    April 26, 2016

    Aw, what an adorable photo!!! And I love that you decided to go the macabre route with your drawing, so hilarious.

  • Maria
    April 27, 2016

    I’ve never seen that film – and never going to now I’ve seen that picture (horse fan here too). Sniff.

  • Trudy
    April 27, 2016

    This is unrelated to your post sorry – but are the comments on your Shoeperwoman site working? I posted a comment there a few days back which hasn’t shown up, and there doesn’t seem to be any others showing either. Unless it’s just my stupid computer playing games with me!

    • Amber
      April 27, 2016

      I haven’t noticed any issues, but I’ll take a look!

  • Jenny
    May 2, 2016

    This was genuinely devastating for me as a child. Far too much, I’d say. Way worse than Watership Down. Have you read the novel of The Neverending Story? I’m ashamed to say I have and Bastian was a horrible little kid in it; it was totally different to the film. But Artax LIVES right? He’s galloping across restored Fantasia at the end isn’t he? For me the issue is definitely dogs and their cinematic safety. I have to press pause and consult doesthedogdie.com everytime a dog appears in a film. Maybe you can start doesthehorsedie.com ?

    • Amber
      May 2, 2016

      Ah, THANK YOU for telling me about doesthedogdie! I had no idea that even existed, and I swear I spend so much time watching movies and saying, “The dog is doing to die! I bet the dog is going to die! I’m not watching this if the dog dies!” It’s actually horrible of me to admit, because I can deal with people dying in movies, but dogs? Nuh-uh.

      As for Artax, Terry and I occasionally have debates about this – he insists that Artax is alive at the end, so it’s OK, but my feeling is that yes, you see him at the end, but by that point your childhood as basically been destroyed but it doesn’t count. Now I’ve talked about it so much, I think I might have to steel myself to watch it again 🙂

      • Jenny
        May 6, 2016

        The damage is DEFINITELY done by the end of the film, you’re right! Far too much for young minds to handle, I feel!

  • Emma Powick
    July 23, 2016

    God that scene was traumatic! I cried when I saw it as a kid and I watch it the other day and it still traumatises me. I also loved horses as a child and read all the horse and pony magazines and had the posters on my walls. I’m gonna take a guess (scene as I think that we’re around the same age) that the show jumpers were probably either John and Michael Whittaker, Ian Stark, Leslie Law or William Fox-Pitt or if female Mary King or Pippa Funnell

How The NeverEnding Story Ruined My Childhood
Artax! Artax!