Jewel Riders, Episode 1: Jewel Quest, Part 1

Today is the official start of our Jewel Riders recaps! It’s like Avalon: Web of Magic, except it’s not!

… Okay, we admit, the two do share some similarities. Like, there’s three girls with magical jewels and bonded animals, and they have to find some Mineral McGuffins before the Big Bad does. And one of our heroes is related to the Big Bad. And there’s a place called Avalon. And both series share (most of) the same soundtrack. And there’s lots of other stuff, which we’ll get to under the cut.

A note: the videos we’re posting are the international versions, so they refer to the princess as “Starla”. We’ll be using “Gwenevere” because that’s what we grew up with.

What Do We Remember About This Episode?

JW: Um, there was a badass thorny castle with purple fire all over the place. And a cat gets blasted by Magic Missiles. This is an episode I’ve probably seen only once or twice, so I don’t remember it very well.

Ry: Giant wolves and unicorns!  Merlin in a big soap bubble!  Cool Enchanted Jewels and Jewel Armor!

A Quick and Dirty Summary:
Princess Kale is pissed because Merlin didn’t choose her to wield the Sunstone and rule Avalon. Her luck seems to turn when she finds a “wild jewel” and bonds with the two dweasels that detected it. Now equipped with her newly-dubbed Dark Stone, Kale is ready to take over Avalon by force.

Meanwhile, at the Crystal Palace, Merlin is preparing Gwenevere for her Friendship Ceremony. In order to wield the Sunstone and become a Jewel Rider, Gwen must bond with a magical animal. The lesson is interrupted by a raven that somehow tells Merlin that trouble is brewing.

Gwen worries that she won’t be able to bond with a magical animal, but her Jewel Rider friend Tamara says some reassuring stuff about the Sunstone and its power.

Meanwhile, a winged unicorn named Sunstar tries to play ball with some other unicorns. She gets teased for having wings and not being able to fly. Her father (I guess it’s her father?) tries to reassure her.

(Ry: Yeah, it’s her father.  He shows up again in the S2 episode “Vale of the Unicorns” as well.)

So, that trouble Merlin ran off to take care of? It’s a doe trapped in a Wild Magic bubble. Piece of cake, right? Well, Merlin didn’t notice the OBVIOUSLY EVIL expression on the doe’s face and gets trapped in the bubble. Turns out that the doe was Kale, and it was a trap all along. Kale tries to steal the key to Merlin’s jewel box, which contains the Crown Jewels of Avalon, but the raven from earlier steals the key. Merlin is then blasted into the Wild Magic.

After a very long aerial chase, the raven crash-lands in a forest. Sunstar, who is conveniently walking nearby, is tasked with taking the key to the Crystal Palace. She doesn’t get very far. Kale easily catches up with her.

Meanwhile, Gwen, the Jewel Riders (Tamara and the newly-introduced ethnic tomboy Fallon), and the Pack (Drake and two other wolf-riding men) learn about a threat to the kingdom. The girls decide to check out Merlin’s house … which is totally ransacked. Archimedes (Merlin’s talking owl, usually called Archie) survived somehow, and tells the girls that someone took Merlin’s jewel box. This is obviously a Bad Thing, so the girls ride off to find it.

After a ride through the Wild Magic via the Travel Trees, the girls find Kale with Sunstar imprisoned in her “dragon wagon”. This culminates in a giant Magic Missile battle. Gwen manages to get the key from Sunstar, but Spike (one of Tamara’s bonded animals) throws himself before a Magic Missile and gets tainted by Wild Magic. Kale flies off with the requisite Evil Laughter, while the party tries to figure out how the hell to cast Heal….

Stray Observations
* My hearing is shit, so as a kid I thought that the theme song went, “Jump in the rain / when the sun shines”. It wasn’t until I bought the tapes when I learned that the lyrics were quite different.  (Ry: I thought it said “Jump in the rain” for the longest time too!)

* The international titles look more badass, don’t you think?

* If Tamara is already a Jewel Rider, why does she still take lessons from Merlin?

* People can only hear magical animals speak if they have an Enchanted Jewel equipped. Tamara often has to translate for Gwen because of this.

* Ry: Tamara is actually the only Jewel Rider who can understand everyone’s animals.  All the animals with Enchanted Jewels equipped can understand each other, though.  So Fallon could ask Moondance to ask Sunstar something, but she probably can’t hear Sunstar directly.

* Okay, how stupid must Merlin be to not notice the OBVIOUSLY EVIL expression on that doe’s face?

* Tamara has a tiger-drawn carriage? At least, I think it’s a tiger. But still … she has a big cat towing her carriage. Why?  (Ry: I actually always thought it was some kind of bear?)

* One thing that gets me down is when PEOPLE! PUT! EXCESSIVE ARMOR! ON THEIR GIANT WOLVES!

* What’s the point of those ribbons on Moondance’s saddle? That has always confused me.

* So, Merlin denied Kale the Sunstone not because she couldn’t control it, but because her alignment was not Good. Okay….  (Ry: I’ve always wondered if it was really Merlin who chose, or the Jewel itself?)

* Demanding the Travel Trees to ride the Wild Magic: Bad Idea. Politely asking the Travel Trees to ride the Wild Magic: Good Idea.  (Ry: Yeah, politeness somehow gets related to magic a lot in this series.)

* Archie claims that the Enchanted Jewels are not meant for massive Magic Missile battles. Then what’s the point of having a magic jewel that can shoot Magic Missiles?

* Tamara is bonded to three of the most annoying animals ever. I hated the babies when I was a kid, and I still do to this day.

Ry’s Comments

* The opening of the show and the bit where Sunstar walks through the forest are hilariously ripped off from Disney.

* The Travel Trees tell Kale that her Dark Stone hasn’t been tuned by Merlin.  “Tuning” jewels is a concept that comes up all the time in the series.  I think it’s basically analogous to bonding or unlocking the jewel, but the word is used in several different ways, thereby muddying the concept. (JW: Tuning jewels is also mentioned in Avalon, and it specifically refers to bonding with and controlling the jewel. Tuned jewels can’t be used by anyone else unless they’re given away freely.)

* In much the same way, Wild Magic is actually really nebulously defined during the series – at different points it’s the untapped magic of the land, the magic inside the Travel Tree tunnels, and much later a magical dimension that crosses all worlds.

* Oh  neat – I never realized the floor of the Crystal Palace had a tree (Forest Stone) inside a sun (Sun Stone)!

* For future reference, Queen Anya’s purple cat is named Wintermane and King Jared’s brown wolf is named Goliath.

* Archie is basically an infodump/comedy character in place of Merlin – here, he explains all about the Crown Jewels.  Further infodumps will follow.

* Fallon is a badass – she can apparently take down the entire dragon wagon on her own.  This stunt is sadly never repeated.

* I laugh every time Archie says “The Enchanted Jewels are not weapons!”  Because that’s basically what they use them for most of the time.

Avalon Connections
* This episode is basically Kara’s arc from the first half of Avalon: Web of Magic. Gwen wants to become a Jewel Rider, bond with an animal, and get an Enchanted Jewel. She then finds a winged magical animal that she shares a connection with.

* Tamara and Fallon (the Emily and Adriane analogues) became Jewel Riders before the series started. In Avalon, Emily and Adriane find their jewels before Kara joins the party.

* Archie is basically Ozzie. They both have long Greek names that are conveniently shortened, and they have similar vocal tics.

* Kale is the Dark Sorceress analogue. They both have some serious sister issues, and they both want to take over Avalon.

* The Crystal Palace shows up in Avalon: The Warlock Diaries.


Next time: The second half of “Jewel Quest”, in which the party gets a quest.



  1. It’s a hawk, not a raven. I mean, it’s not even black…

    And yeah, it’s a big cat.

    Merlin might be just demented. I mean, how old is this guy? 1,000 plus, right? It’s all never really explained, but hey it’s a kids show, kids don’t care. But anyway I’m going to note how this whole “Banished from the Crystal Palace for plotting to take the throne away from her sister, Anya” backstory wasn’t ever even mentioned on air and it was just on the website. I think the chaotic pre-production history of the show is to blame for any confusion, like they wanted to add this but just forgot.

    The baby animals:

    1. That’s my fault with the raven / hawk confusion. I should’ve noticed that the beak looked different.

      There was an official Jewel Riders website that had backstory and stuff? Never knew that. I’d love to stick the URL in the Wayback Machine and see what other background information they left out of the show.

        1. That is a very bare-bones official website. Tamara doesn’t even get a page about herself!

          … But now I know that I’ve been spelling Sun Stone and Moon Stone wrong ^_^

          1. Heh, yeah, it was a super mid nineties website! It’s almost like a fan made it with Geocities instead of the actual company. XD

  2. The animation is way better than I’d expected (I thought that it was going to similar to Lady Lovely Locks, though, I thought the show was a lot older than it actually is).

    Also, dem Valley Girl Unicorns. I always love a good Valley Girl accent.

    1. Never seen Lady Lovely Locks. Is it any good?

      As a former resident of southern California, I have to admit that I can’t stand the “valley girl” accent. *shudder*

      1. It’s a show from the eighties that a babysitter showed me as a wee-lass. I fell in love with the pretty sparkly magic girls and the flying animals but looking back on it, no. No it isn’t really. I did try to go back and watch it a while ago and the animation/voice acting quality is just HORRIBLE. And I don’t think the storyline really makes sense? I feel like I’d watch if for the nostalgia, but if the nostalgia isn’t there then it isn’t worth it.

        I talk in this weird mash-up of valley-girl, southern-bell, Southern British Colombian accent. I use a lot of slang from every decade and use the vocabulary of one of those kids from Dawson’s Creek. It’s PRETENTIOUS and ANNOYING and I’m pretty sure if I met me I would hate the way I talk.
        But I can do a killer valley-girl or souther-bell on demand so that’s a skill that I’ll probably use A LOT in the real world.

  3. Hmmm, Archie so far seems to act more like Tweek than Ozzie. Well, the whole infodump-licious part anyway. Funny that Drake in this series is the name of the guy rather than his bonded. xD Wow, this does scream 90’s show.

  4. I just watched this episode. I accidentally watched the second half of part 1 before the first half. Still, I felt lost. What is this land? Is it on Earth? When does it take place? Nothing is explained.

    1. 1) The land is Avalon.

      2) I have no idea if it’s on Earth or it’s own little pocket dimension or whatever. It’s never explained. Prepare for more confusion when other lands are discovered in the second season.

      3) Don’t try to think about when it takes place. Just don’t. Anachronisms run wild in this series.

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