Study Guide

Airborn Gilgamesh

By Kenneth Oppel

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There's a part of the story where Matt can't sleep and he decides to go watch the film Gilgamesh in the middle of the night. At first it seems like a non-sequitor. Like, why do we need to know so much about the movie Matt watches during his bouts of insomnia? Personally, we prefer to watch something really inane like The Goonies. But it turns out that this movie has a very specific theme:

There was a creature called Enkidu, half man, half animal, who falls from the sky. (13.42)

Hmm… sound familiar? Perhaps Matt sees himself as Enkidu, a being who is human but has the capability of flight?

At the end there is a battle between Enkidu and Gilgamesh atop a tall tower, and then Gilgamesh slips, and falls:

Gilgamesh fell so slowly, arms spread, right off the tower's edge and toward the clouds, but somehow Enkidu grabbed hold of him. He seized him around the wrist and was so strong he could lift him back over the edge and onto the tower. (13.45)

This scene sets off one heck of a crying jag for Matt. Gilgamesh is his father, but no one was there to save him from falling off the Aurora.

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