My Little Golem: Build-A-Bear is Magic

Author's note: I appologize for the delay, but I have edited this work so that it does not have the initial, abrupt ending. My apollogies for not posting the edited work first. Much love- Sam

Horror has a face. And you must make a friend of horror

Originally, I was going to write an essay on malls and the allure of consumerism. Without a steady job, I often find myself conducting field research on consumerist behavior. I mentioned before that I am trying to avoid chain restaurants, but I am also trying to avoid conglomerate megastores… “trying” being the key word here. This is hard to do when one is faced with only working one day a week and I often don’t have the money to buy the $45 sweater at the local store versus the $5 sweater at Any Shop, USA. At any rate, consumerism fascinates me, much like how it fascinated Andy Warhol. By no means am I a shop-a-holic, but I can’t help but admire the way people are addicted to these grand shopping centers.  I could write about my frequent mall walks and how I observe people going to identical shops with identical goods with identical prices with the perceived differences in quality. But then I stopped in front of Build-A-Bear.

Nostalgia swept over as I stood by the entrance, heavily guarded by the two familiar bear solider statues. I had a Build-A-Bear turtle as a kid (named Zippy for its removable shell, complete with zipper compartment). Although much remained the same, I could spot a few differences. As always, BAB had outfits based on the newest movies, namely the Avengers. The isles were unchanged: 1) Choose Me, 2) Hear Me, 3) Stuff Me, 4) Fluff Me, 5) Kiss Me, 6) Kill Me, 7) Take Me Home (wait, I think I mixed those up. Maybe it was all that U2 playing in the background at the mall…) Anyhow, the only thing that really took me aback was the animal selection itself. The absence of retiles must be noted; a glorious absence. By that, I mean there were no turtles, no frogs, NADA! I was appalled. Furthermore, I couldn’t help but notice the addition of My Little Pony characters (from Hub’s “Friendship is Magic”). This came as no shock to me, considering how BAB likes to cater to what kids like these days. I have no problem with MLP, considering I myself am a brony, but I couldn’t help but laugh to myself: Build-A-Bear is Magic!

Wait a minute. Magic? Build-A-Bear? Holy shit, why didn’t I notice it before?! Anyone who has played any kind of RPG in their life will know exactly what I mean when I say that BAB is a manifestation of wizard’s work station. This shop is teaching children the basics of becoming a well-rounded wizard, a Builder if you will. Don’t believe me? Let me lay out some schools of magic and go through them for you.

It's like Slender Man, only less creepy


This is the obvious one. Anyone who has played DnD or Pathfinder knows about wizards who specialize in the art of conjuration. This is when a wizard can summon or create particular objects/tools. Often, conjurers are used in the party to create shields or barriers in combat. However, conjurers are also known for creating golems, creatures made from any one object. Golems can be made from anything: mud, grass, wood, metal, fire, water, semen (yes, this exists in the DnD erotica guide), bugs, or anything else you can think of.  Flesh golems also come to mind, but I’ll get to that in a minute. In BAB, you or your child create these fluffy golems; you are their god. You pick out the de-fluffifed corpse, you give it a heart, you re-fluffify it, you give it a function (based on clothes), you name it, and you use it however you see fit. The function, here, is the key. Have you ever noticed the kinds of outfits you can put on these golems? They are all professions, including the Superheroes. They all can be used to make your own adventure party.

Doctor/Nurse outfits= Clerics

Solider/Police outfits: Fighter, paladin

Cheerleader outfit: Bard

Superhero/ College outfit: Mage/Oracle/Wizard (College= wisdom, intellect bonuses)

To reiterate, you, the Builder, are god to these golems. You have given them purpose. Granted, golems tend not to be too smart, usually they are incapable of speaking. However, BAB uses other schools of magic to counteract this minor flaw.


The outfits may or may not give your golems the ability to carry out the functions they represent. However, when confronted by enemies, your golems do not necessarily have to do anything else but intimidate. Even when your party is outnumbered, you can conjure these golems with the illusion that they are more than just animated stuffing. Illusion is my personal favorite school of magic, and it plays a big part of BAB’s sales. Ever realize that all stuffed animals are just dyed fabric with glass buttons meant to be interpreted as eyes? Of course you have. But when you see Hello Kitty or Twilight Sparkle, your suspension of disbelief is broadened. Illusionists are not only able to manipulate how they are perceived, but they can cast spells that make others believe the world around them has changed. They can make you see Twilight Sparkle in all her glory; what’s more is that they can make you hear her, too…

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