"Ooooh better beware, oooh, the Beast is out there! Oooh, better be wise and don't believe his lieees..."
The Tavern Keeper is a character who appears in episode 4: Songs of The Dark Lantern. As her title implies, she is the owner of the Tavern. She sings a song about The Beast, warning Wirt and Gregory to be wise and beware the Beast, and that he'd turn them into Edelwood trees. She also states that anyone who had The Lantern had to be The Beast.
Like many characters the Tavern Keeper goes through many transformations in her appearance. One general theme that the designer, Nick Cross, kept in mind was his inspiration of Betty Boop.
Her first sketches include her dress without her shawl for modesty and apron, and bonnet. This sketch has her face is wider being wider and jellybean shaped with eyes slightly larger for her head. Another sketch has her face much rounder and circle shaped, and appearing aged older.
A third sketch has her wearing a sleeveless dress with a round neckline and ruffled collar (not a bertha), and revealing her parted, but tied hair, and a different nose. Some sketches have show her face without the rosy blush on her cheeks, some with no bonnet, and with round half-lidded eyes.
What remains consistent in the sketches were her dress length, apron, shawl, earrings, hair style, eyelashes, and nose. Interestingly, none of her preliminary sketches appear to have the choker pendant she wears. Most sketches do have her cheek lines and plump figure.
Like most tavern wenches, owners, or maids, the Tavern Keeper is a jovial but hardy character. She is appears to be well respected in the tavern, being the only woman, besides Beatrice and the Midwife, in it, and is not afraid to get her hands dirty; with the way she chases Beatrice out of the tavern.
In Songs of the Dark Lantern when Wirt, Greg, and Beatrice are searching for coverage from the rain and accidentally fall in the path toward her tavern. When they enter she warns them that no animals (likely wild animals) were allowed in her tavern and brings them food. In the introductions of the tavern patrons, and after Wirt's song, she warns him of the Beast and shed light into the perspective that the people of the Unknown have of him. It is in her tavern that the group steals Fred the Horse from the Highwayman.
- Appears to be inspired by Betty Boop, in both her character design, and voice.
- Introduces the idea that "Whoever carries the dark lantern must be the Beast" to Greg and Wirt, in reference to the Dark Lantern.
- The Horsemen riding with hay at the beginning of this episode makes an appearance in the comics, when Wirt could not stop trying to help the two mischievous girls from getting out of doing their chores, and Beatrice urges the group to run away.
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- Over the Garden Wall Episode | Chapter: 4 Songs of the Dark Lantern.
- Nick Cross Original Character Sketches.