This article is about one of the books from the Hilda series of graphic novels.
You may be looking for the Netflix-exclusive television series of the same name.
It is the last of the graphic novels to be adapted for season 1 of the animated series. The events are divided over the course of 4 episodes.
The story opens with Hilda seemingly camping outside in her tent during a rain storm, but that is only her imagination; in reality the tent is in her bedroom. Johanna thinks Hilda should get out more (even though she previously told Hilda to stay indoors). When she sees an information flyer of the Sparrow Scouts, she decides to sign Hilda up. So, Hilda takes the oath and becomes a Sparrow Scout. When Johanna takes her home after the ceremony, she spots what looks like a big, black hound. The following day, the newspaper also reports about this beast.
When walking home after buying groceries, Hilda spots a tiny, humanoid creature with a face full of hair sitting on the sidewalk. Johanna urges her to move on, telling her the creature is a Nisse. They live in peoples homes and are known to be thieves and liars. This one has obviously been evicted. Hilda feels sorry for the Nisse.
Seven weeks go by. Hilda tries her hands at various Sparrow Scout activities to earn badges, but keeps failing due to circumstances (among other things, she takes pretending to be injured for First Aid training too seriously, has to stop the lighting of a campfire since some elves made their home among the wood, and accidently drives a stake through the head of a Vittra when setting up her tent).
The final week, the scouts have their annual camping trip. The first night of camp, Hilda sees the homeless Nisse again in the woods. She gains his trust by helping him make a bigger fire, and in turn the Nisse, whose name is revealed to be Tontu, tells her more about his kind; they live in a pocket dimension called Nowhere Space, hence why most people think they are invisible. If a homeowner orders a Nisse to leave, he has to obey. That is what happened to him, even though he did nothing wrong. Later that night, while everybody is sleeping, Hilda grabs some snacks and tries to find Tontu again. She briefly sees the Black Hound, before Raven Leader finds her and orders her to go back into the tent.
The following morning, word about the Black Hound having been seen near the camp reaches Raven Leader, and she decides to cancel the camping trip. Back in Trolberg, the Sparrow Scouts go from door to door to collect donations for their annual jumble sale. Hilda abandons her group however when she spots Tontu, sleeping in a tree. She offers him to come stay at her house. Tontu fears there might be another Nisse there already, but Hilda assures him there isn’t. Once in the house, Tontu shows Hilda the Nowhere Space. Unfortunately, it turns out there is another Nisse there after all. She violently attacks Tontu, and they trash the kitchen. Johanna comes home, thinks Tontu is to blame for the mess, and sends him away. Hilda tries to talk with the other Nisse, but she doesn’t respond.
The next day, Hilda tries to find Tontu. Instead, she encounters multiple other homeless Nisse, all named Tontu, and all of whom claim they were wrongfully accused of causing mayhem in the houses they used to live in. She also runs into David, who is working on his Animal Friend badge. He informs her the badge ceremony is next week. Disappointed at her failure to find Tontu, and earn any badges, Hilda returns home, but on her way bumps into the Black Hound. Fortunately, the creature only sniffs her before walking off. That night, the news reports 3 people got eaten by the hound, and Hilda can hear the beast howl in the distance.
As fear of the Black Hound spreads, the Trolberg Safety patrol begins to hunt for the beast. Hilda meanwhile is too afraid to admit to her mom she has no badges. Raven Leader assures her it’s not a shame. Hilda still tries to get one, and eventually decides to do research on the Black Hound as part of the Friend to Animals badge. She discovers the hound is a Barghest, which usually live deep in the mountains. She completes her project on time, but in vain since it turns out she had to perform the task in the presence of Raven Leader in order for it to qualify.
On the day of the badge ceremony, Hilda wanders aimlessly through Trolberg until she finds the house that Tontu used to live in. The owner claims Tontu stole from her and trashed the living room. Later, Hilda runs into Tontu again, but he keeps claiming to be innocent. Hilda doesn’t know who to believe anymore, but nevertheless takes Tontu along as she goes to the badge ceremony, and suggests he should try the Nowhere Space of Scout Hall. Unfortunately, it turns out the Black Hound is in there. Awakened by Tontu, the beast enters Scout Hall and disrupts the badge ceremony. Tontu grabs Hilda and flees with her through Nowhere Space, but the Hound easily follows them.
The chase ends in Hilda’s home, where the other Nisse comes to their aid since it’s her house too. To her surprise, the hound turns out to be her old pet Jellybean. She found him years ago as a puppy, and raised him, even learning him how to enter Nowhere Space. But her parents got rid of the pet once they found out. When informed that Jellybean ate 3 people, the Nisse orders him to spit them out. Hilda now understands that Jellybean was the one who wrecked all those houses and got the Nisse wrongfully accused.
Johanna arrives at the house and is glad Hilda is safe, but the Safety Patrol also arrives to capture Jellybean. Jellybean panics and flees from the house, only to find himself cornered by the Safety Patrol. Hilda convinces Johanna they must lure Jellybean out of the city. So, along with Tontu and Jellybeans owner, they get into the car, and drive off to the City Wall, with Jellybean following them. Jellybean catches up with the car before they reach the gate, and jumps on the hood. Johanna loses control and the car steers off the road. To avoid them crashing into the city wall, the two Nisse join forces to send the car into the Nowhere Space of the outside world. The gamble pays off for Hilda, Johanna and Tontu, who emerge on the other side of the wall, but Jellybean and his owner disappear into the void.
A few days later, Tontu is now living with Hilda and Johanna. Johanna made Hilda a badge of her own to compensate for the lack of actual badges, though Hilda schemes with Tontu to have it removed before the next Sparrow Scouts meeting. Elsewhere, in a place far away from Trolberg, Jellybean and his owner have escaped Nowhere Space.
- Raven Leader
- various Sparrow Scouts
- Trolberg Safety Patrol
- Tontu's old house's owner
For the animated adaptation, the bulk of the story was adapted for Chapter 12 and Chapter 13, but Hilda joining the Sparrow Scouts was adapted for Chapter 4, as well as the scene of Hilda accidently driving a spike through the head of a Vittra. The scene at the start of the story with Hilda in her tent was adapted into Chapter 3: The Bird Parade.
There are some notable differences between the graphic novel and the adaptation:
- David and Frida have bigger roles in the animated adaptation. There is an entirely new subplot of Hilda and David trying to rekindle their friendship with Frida (which has become strained due to the events of "Chapter 9"), and Frida temporarily joining the Marra under the influence of her new friend Kelly, until they betray her and use her as a distraction for the Black Hound. And the two of them actively try to help Hilda get at least one badge.
- Alfur is added as an extra character in the animated adaptation. He is the one who identifies the Black Hound as a Barghest, not Hilda.
- The events from the graphic novel are shown in a different order in the animated adaptation; first comes the scene where Hilda takes Tontu home, where he gets into a fight with the Nisse already living there. Then the night at the camp where Hilda meets Tontu again in the woods. And then the jumble sale.
- The various scenes of Hilda trying her hands at earning a badge are left out of the animated adaptation.
- The animated adaptation shows Jellybean and his owner ending up near the ruins of Hilda’s old home after escaping the Nowhere Space of the outside world, where they meet the Wood Man. In the graphic novel, they end up in an undisclosed location and the Wood Man is not seen.
- In the animated adaptation, the Sparrow Scouts break up their camp in the middle of the night after the hound has been seen instead of the following morning.
Hilda and the Black Hound has won the following awards:
- 2014 Young People's Comic Award (British Comic Awards )
- 2015 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids' Comics.