Hunter’s name was a subtle clue to one of the most successful plot twists of the House of Owls. While “The Owl House” is full of well-crafted surprises, the revelation that the Hunter, also called the Golden Guardian, was actually an artificial being known as the Grim Walker was extremely gratifying due to the show’s strong foreshadowing. This omen included two obvious pieces of the puzzle that viewers could use to piece together the answer on their own—a glimpse of the Grim Walkers book that Emperor Belos was reading and the Hunter’s inability to use magic—and a third, less obvious piece of the puzzle in the form of Hunter’s name.
The recently canceled House of the Owl typically gives its characters meaningful names that relate to their abilities, character arcs, origins, or appearance. Luz’s name means “light,” and the first spell she learned was a light spell. Willow’s name shows her connection with plant magic, Friendliness’s name reflects her transition from bully to friend and girlfriend Luz, and King’s name foreshadows his personality as a godlike Titan. Even minor or minor characters have clever names. The head of the Terra Snapdragon plant coven, for example, is named after the flower and the soil in which the plants are supposed to grow.
Hunter’s name is no less significant because it reflects his relationship with the villain of the “House of Owls”, Emperor Belos. Although Hunter was led to believe that he was Belos’ nephew, the episode “Empty Mind” revealed that he was actually the latest in a long line of Grim Walkers that Belos created to serve him. The name “Hunter” describes not only the profession, but also the profession that Hunter was often seen performing for Belos. Due to the close correspondence between Hunter’s name and the tasks he performed as the Golden Guard, it seems that Belos named Hunter after the role for which he created him.
How Hunter’s Name Foreshadows His origin from the Grim Walkers
The name of the Hunter is appropriate, given that he spent most of his time hunting creatures, people and magical materials, working under the guidance of Belos. He hunted Selkidomus with a bounty on his head, hunted for palismans so that Belos could feed on them, hunted for Titan’s blood to open a portal, and hunted down recruits of the Emperor’s Coven in Hexside. The episode “Eclipse Lake” of the second season of “House of Owls” shows that Hunter’s self-esteem was linked to his ability to complete these missions. When he failed to find Titan’s blood for Belos, he started digging his own grave and told King, “Everyone has a use. And if not — goodbye! He was aware to some extent that he was nothing more than Belos’ personal hunter, long before he discovered his true identity as the Grim Walker.
The fact that Hunter’s name is so closely linked to his role reflects that Belos did not expect—and did not allow—Hunter to have a personality beyond serving him. Along with Hunter’s identity as the Grim Walker, the Owl House also revealed that Belos killed every previous Grim Walker as soon as they betrayed him, although his definition of “betrayal” remains vague. Given that he killed his brother Caleb because he considered his decision to marry a witch a personal betrayal, it could have been so broad that it included any step away from him. Be that as it may, Belos definitely treated the Grim Walkers as disposable items, creating and destroying them at will. The name he chose for Hunter is another extension of how he viewed him as another tool.
Hunter’s name alone wouldn’t have been enough for fans of the original Disney+ series to build a theory that he was the Grim Walker, but it added another supporting piece of evidence. It also adds another layer to the relationship between Hunter and Emperor Belos now that the Owl House has shown that the theory is canon. Something as small as a name clearly shows how deeply Belos tried to undermine Hunter’s personality and limit him to the role he was created for.